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Maggie board approves food trucks

Maggie board approves food trucks

After months of contentious back and forth over the subject of food trucks, an ordinance allowing the mobile vendors in Maggie Valley not only passed — it passed unanimously.

“I've got folks who are waiting for a call tomorrow morning,” said Town Planner Kaitland Finkle. “They're very excited about this opportunity and operating here in Maggie valley, both on the truck side and on the local business side as well.”

The approved ordinance permits food trucks in any nonresidential zoning district within the jurisdiction of the Town, including the extraterritorial jurisdiction, or as a special event approved by the Town Board of Aldermen. The town is on the verge of passing its Unified Development Ordinance, after which zoning districts in the town will undergo substantial restructuring. The choice to permit food trucks in all non-residential districts will allow the ordinance to flow nicely into the new UDO, instead of restricting them to zones that will become antiquated within the new UDO.

Permitted hours of operation for food trucks mirror the hours of Maggie’s sound ordinance meaning they can operate every day of the week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Permits will be approved by town staff and vendors will not have to come before the board of aldermen for regular food truck operation permits.

Requirements for permitting, don’t have to come before the board for the permit, takes 24-48 hours

Food trucks are allowed only on developed property occupied by an active nonresidential user. Vendors may not sell food to the general public within the town unless a business, nonprofit or similar organization with a physical location has given signed written approval as a part of an application submitted to the town. With such approval, only one food truck is allowed per individual lot, except when a special event has been approved by the town.

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Mobile food vendors are still permitted at town sanctioned events, including those hosted on the festival grounds. They are also allowed on commonly owned property within a residential development in order to serve residents and guests at a neighborhood activity or function.

“There still are avenues for individuals to operate outside of this ordinance,” said Finkle. “So if you're looking to have a true special event with more than one truck, or if you're looking to have private events, catered events, things that your neighborhood may want to hold, those are all outlined in this ordinance as well.”

In March, the board appointed Aldermen Tammy Wight and Jim Owens to a special committee that would work with the town attorney and town planner on a mobile restaurant ordinance for the town. The decision to create a committee came after Elevated Mountain Distillery owner Dave Angel came before the board to request a special event permit. Prior to this food truck ordinance, that was the only way to be able to get a food truck in Maggie Valley. The board denied Angel his request on the grounds that he was not holding a special event (differing from his normal business operation) but later granted him a scaled-down version of his request and committed to ironing out the food truck ordeal in the meantime.

“I think it's a step forward,” said Alderman Phillip Wight. “I’d like to compliment the board and the town and especially Tammy and Jim for not letting this issue go away and presenting us with something that's workable.

Board members Tammy and Phillip Wight have been supportive of allowing food trucks in the valley since the discussion came up last summer. In September, the then board approved a food truck trial program to determine community support for and feasibility of food trucks in Maggie Valley.

Following the November elections, Jim Owens and John Hinton joined the board. At first, it seemed that Hinton and Owens would join Mayor Mike Eveland in standing against food trucks in the valley. Both first voted against the approval of a special event permit to allow the food truck Harvest Moon Crepes to operate outside of Tony’s Tube World for the remainder of its season, before walking that vote back to approve the permit. Both were also opposed to granting Angel his special event permit request before the scaled-down version was suggested. 

However, on Tuesday night, Eveland, Hinton and Owens joined the Wights in vocally and enthusiastically supporting the food truck ordinance.

“I appreciate the guidance you gave Tammy and I to sit down and work this through,” Owens said to Finkle during board discussion. “And I appreciate Tammy's cooperation where we could sit down and work together and do something that was the best thing for the town.”

Tammy Wight echoed his sentiment.

Following the meeting, Mayor Eveland told the Smoky Mountain News that, over the past year, he’s seen the overwhelming support for food trucks in Maggie Valley, which is why he voted for the ordinance.

“When the new board came in, it was obvious to me that they were in favor of some kind of food truck trial or trying something to see how they could work in the valley,” said Eveland. “Tammy and Jim did an excellent job of bringing it all together. I have to grow along with the town and move forward with the valley. It’s part of growth and being open minded and doing what you think is right.”

According to Finkle, the approval process for mobile food vendors is being proposed in the budget process as an update to the fee schedule. This will be discussed during the budget presentation Wednesday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. and will be voted on Tuesday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. The current proposal is to mirror the ABC permitting process which is a yearly fee of $100.

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2 comments

  • As a business owner in Maggie, I think this is awesome. This unique feature of Maggie will be perfect for the festivals, It will hopefully keep more revenue and interest in the area without any burden to the community! Many will appreciate being able to get snacks and food when other businesses have closed as well as the diversity of unique foods that will be available in the area. Yay Maggie - for coming together in what I believe will be a unique and successful niche attraction for Maggie Valley.

    posted by Tina McKenzie

    Monday, 05/16/2022

  • As a business owner in Maggie, I think this is awesome. This unique feature of Maggie will be perfect for the festivals, It will hopefully keep more revenue and interest in the area without any burden to the community! Many will appreciate being able to get snacks and food when other businesses have closed as well as the diversity of unique foods that will be available in the area. Yay Maggie - for coming together in what I believe will be a unique and successful niche attraction for Maggie Valley.

    posted by Tina McKenzie

    Monday, 05/16/2022

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