Food Truck and Garbage Can Laws Amended

Without debate or fanfare, Raleigh City Councilors approved changes this week to the food truck law, allowing trucks to operate downtown. The new law will also increase the number of trucks allowed on a property.

The food truck issue was one of the most hotly debated topics during the past two years and it took nearly a year for the council to allow operators to do business within the city limits. There was heavy pressure from the restaurant industry to keep food trucks far away from brick-and-mortar establishments for fear business would slump in a bad economy.

Trucks can now operate in the Downtown Overlay District, which covers most of downtown Raleigh, except Glenwood South to Hillsborough Street. Food trucks will be able to operate downtown as long as the property meets the required commercial zoning.

The new rules also allow more than one food truck to park on the same property: two food trucks on lots that are one-half acre or less, three trucks on lots between one-half and one acre and four trucks on lots greater than one acre but less than two acres. There is no maximum for lots larger than two acres.

The distance requirements between a food truck and a restaurant remain the same. Food trucks must still get a permit from the city in order to operate. Property owners who allow food trucks to park on their property must also get a permit.

Trash Can Times Remain the Same
City Councilors approved changes to curbside garbage can removal, but the drop off and removal times have stayed the same. One major change is that landlords of rental housing will ultimately be responsible for making sure tenants bring the cans in on time.

The final vote was 6 to 2 in favor of the change, with councilors Bonner Gaylord and John Odom voting against it.

The council considered changing the times after complaints in Raleigh's south and west districts that people were leaving their garbage cans out at the curb longer than permitted.

Residents can put their garbage cans out as early as noon the day before pickup, but cans must be removed by 7 p.m. the day after pickup. The timeframe was extended in 2006 to give residents more flexibility.
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A recent proposal rules would have shortened the hours. Residents would have had to take their trash out at sundown the night before pickup. The cans would then be removed by sunrise the day after pickup.

It seems as though public outcry kept this time change from happening. On Tuesday, City Councilor Russ Stephenson said he’s gotten too many calls about the more restrictive time to vote for it.

About half of the citations for forgotten garbage cans are given to rental properties.

The new law would keep the timeframe the same, but put the responsibility on the property owner, rather than the tenant.

If a trash can is left out after hours, the person occupying the property will be given a citation. The law would make this a joint responsibility, but ultimately, the burden is on the property owner.

The city will also no longer be providing garbage service for communities with more than five attached dwellings, such as townhouse communities. Only new developments will be affected by the change. Existing communities will continue to be serviced by the city.

During next year’s budget discussions, the council will consider hiring additional staff to enforce the laws. Between salary, benefits and work-related equipment, it costs the city about $55,000 per year to hire a new inspector.

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