After several months of public input and discussion on the topic of food trucks and mobile vending, the Town of Bluffton Town Council approved a revised ordinance to address mobile vending businesses at the Feb. 14 Town Council meeting.

Public workshops and meetings were held to get community feedback on necessary revisions to reflect current best practices as well as the needs and desires of the community.

The revised ordinance respects the existing brick and mortar restaurants by requiring a minimum 200-feet separation between the location of the food truck and the restaurant entrance. It also takes into account potential locations for mobile vendors to conduct business.

The vendors and current businesses voiced their concerns on vendors being located in the historic district where sites are not necessarily designed to accommodate trucks or trailers to temporarily park and conduct business.

In response to this, Town Council did not include public streets or the historic district as possible permitted locations, with the exception of special events or private catered events.

Locations that may accommodate mobile vendors include the mixed-use zoning districts, planned unit developments and other commercial districts.

Other changes that were made to the ordinance include expanding the allowed hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., clarification of required outside agency approvals that might be needed (such as S.C. DHEC, Bluffton Township Fire District, insurance, and private property owner’s approval).

Provisions in the previous ordinance that required mobile vendors to have a current fixed location in the Town limits as well as additional regulations on seafood vendors were eliminated from the ordinance.

The revised ordinance provides for clear and concise information on the regulations as well as the permitting process for mobile vendors to conduct business throughout the Town. Information and applications are available at Town Hall, and town staff is ready to answer any questions you might have about starting your mobile vending business.

General licensing, regulations and fee requirements for mobile vendors include:

  • Town of Bluffton Business License
  • Application for background check for ice cream truck vendors only
  • Copy of permits required by SC DHEC (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control)
  • Color copy of a valid driver’s license (Required for owner(s) and anyone operating the vehicle(s))
  • Fire safety inspection for food trucks only
  • A copy of the vehicle(s) registration
  • Color photographs of the vehicle(s) interior and exterior
  • State of South Carolina retail license
  • Proof of general liability insurance for the operation of the vehicle as a motor vehicle and the conduct of the business
  • List of all requested sites including the property owners name, phone number and physical address
  • Notarized written permission for use of private property from the property owner (or authorized agent) for each location
  • Annual $400 provisional privilege fee

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.