The New Vendor Rules

Until this year, mobile taco stands operated without fully legal status in Austin. On June 8, the City Council gave preliminary approval to a new ordinance, which is undergoing review by city staff and commissions. The Planning Commission subcommittee on codes and ordinances will discuss proposed revisions on Aug. 15, and the full commission is expected to consider the changes on Aug. 22. City Council is expected to vote on any changes to the ordinance on Aug. 31.

Under the terms of the draft ordinance, a mobile food establishment:

Must be licensed by the city Health Department.

Is permitted in all commercial or industrial zoning districts, except office.

May not be located within 50 feet of a building that has residential and commercial use (note: precise "buffer" distance still to be determined).

May not operate between 3 and 6am.

May not be located within 20 feet of a restaurant.

Cannot produce a noise level from mechanical or sound equipment that exceeds 70 decibels when measured at a residential property line.

Cannot have drive-in service.

Must shield any exterior lighting.

Can only have signs that are attached to the stand.

Must provide a trash can.

Must keep the area clean of litter.

Does not require a site plan, site plan exemption, or temporary use permit.

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