PN council green lights food truck ordinance

Published 12:24 pm Friday, May 19, 2017

PORT NECHES — After months of discussion with input from local restaurant owners and food truck owners, Port Neches city leaders have passed an ordinance aimed at mobile concessions.

The ordinance was approved unanimously on May 4 and will officially be in effect in the near future, Port Neches City Manager Andrè Wimer said.

The ordinance itself is fairly basis. It requires compliance with the Jefferson County Health Department in relation to regulations on food handling and some health and safety requirements provided by the city’s fire department, he said.

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According to the document, a permit is required to operate a mobile concession. A new permit will be issued on a yearly basis and is good from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 and the annual permit fee of $500 is required per concession truck/trailer/kiosk.

Tyler Blount, co-owner of Neches Brewing Company on Port Neches Avenue, is looking at adding a food truck to his already popular business. Blount attended many of the city council meetings where there was discussion on the ordinance. To him, the $500 per year permit fee seems fair.

“In our eyes, for a full year, it’s pretty cheap though some of the other food truck vendors might have other thoughts,” Blount said.

For Blount, one of the biggest concerns is where to park the food truck when theirs is operational. Neches Brewing or any other food truck, are not allowed to park in front of a business.

“The problem is we have no property left,” he said. “We may, in the future, be able to park across the street (on property owned by Gary Simoneaux)”

One prime piece of potential parking space is a concrete slab where a bank building once stood on Port Neches Avenue. The property is owned by Port Neches-Groves Independent School District.

A food truck would be a plus for Neches Brewing, Blount said. Besides promoting the brewery, Neches Brewing could be on site at events such as Lamar University tailgating and more.

The full ordinance is a compilation of language for several cities as well as including comments and direction from city council and citizens present at the meetings and discussions.

“As with anything new, if we do encounter some unanticipated questions, we may ultimately need to review the ordinance,” Wimer said.