Horry County food trucks pilot program could start in October

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Planning Commission will review the Mobile Food Vending ordinance one last time on Thursday.

Imagine your meal come to you - that's the goal for many who want to see food trucks roll down the streets of Horry County, and 94 percent of those surveyed by the county are on board.

If the Planning Commission passes the proposal after public input, it then goes to the Infrastructure and Regulation Committee, then to county council for three readings. The senior planner for the Planning and Zoning Department says if all goes smoothly, it is expected to pass and the pilot program could start in October.

The original ordinance that this new proposal is based on only allowed covered carts that sold hot dogs, corn dogs, pizza and ice cream. Under the new proposed ordinance, mobile food vendors include all food carts, food trailers, food trucks, snow cone trucks and ice cream trucks.

The vendors would be allowed to serve food from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m., but all vendors must stay 200 feet away from restaurants and schools. For ice cream trucks, they are only allowed to stop at a location for 30 minutes then must move at least one block away. If a vendor commits three violations of the ordinance, their permit will be revoked.

The owner of 'Hey Now, Hot Dogs,' John Traub, says food trucks are headed in the right direction. He was among about 30 people, including county leaders, the food truck committee, interested vendors and the Department of Health, at the meeting.

One change would allow not just food trucks to roll around the county, but carts, trailers, ice cream and snow cone trucks as well. Another big proposed change, the distance to restaurants. Food trucks would have to keep back 200 feet. Operating hours would also be extended, which means you will be able to grab food from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Those in the business say the process is taking time, but they want to get it right the first time. Vendors see this as a boost to local business and a benefit for you too.

"I mean for like a lot of the businesses, with the traffic around here, people can't go out, this will alleviate that, they have a longer lunch time, the trucks right out front," says Traub.

In order to bring eats to Horry County streets, there are still many steps to take. The next is to finalize these plans for a pilot program through a final draft of the ordinance. If it is approved, the one-year pilot program could start in October 2014. After one year of the program, they'll either revise or adopt the ordinance.

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