Horry County’s mobile food truck pilot program gets more suggestions, ready for public hearing

A May 29 public hearing has been set for restaurateurs, potential mobile food truck vendors and the public to comment on the proposed regulations for a mobile food truck pilot program in Horry County, which is now looking like it will launch in the fall.

Members of the Mobile Food Truck Vending Ad Hoc committee met Thursday to hash out some of the regulations it would like to see for the pilot program, which would last about a year. A 200-foot buffer from other restaurants in unincorporated Horry County, a $150 permit fee, background checks for all employees and a requirement to make each employee ServSafe certified are some of the requirements being considered by the committee.

Dennis Springs, member of the committee and the county’s planning commission, suggested the committee consider a 200-foot restriction from other restaurants in the county as opposed to the 75-foot restriction that was initially suggested.

Carol Coleman, deputy director of planning and zoning, said the 75-foot suggestion was liberal.

“I think one thing to consider on that, too, is depending on the size of the brick and mortar restaurant parcel, 75 feet is less than a lot’s width space… I would say 75 feet is pretty liberal,” Coleman said. “If you want to be more conservative, at least 100 feet is a lot’s width.”

Karl Moser, a food truck owner who sparked the county’s conversation to consider the trucks, said he agreed with Springs with a simple stipulation.

“I think 200 is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with their main food,” Moser said.

County planning and zoning officials have already done extensive work on the project, including surveys of the public and studying what other communities do.

After the 1:30 p.m. May 29 public hearing, the committee will send its recommendation to the planning commission and, if approved, will move to the county’s infrastructure and regulation committee. It will need three readings by County Council to pass as a pilot program, which should lead the process well into the fall because the county only meets once per month in the summer months.

The committee is suggesting 50 permits be allowed for the pilot year.

Steven Neeves, chairman of the ad hoc committee, said he was pleased with the progress the group was making.

“We’re getting some good ideas,” Neeves said, adding he liked the staff and committee doing some independent research of what works in other communities. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”