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New permitting process coming for food trucks in Boca Raton

City to waive special event permit in industrial, business, residential zones
Posted at 9:17 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 23:30:13-04

BOCA RATON, Fla.  — In Boca Raton, there's a new effort to ease restrictions when it comes to food trucks. The mobile eateries are a popular option during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Kiedis is the owner of the Chick-fil-A at the Town Center at Boca Raton. When the fast-food restaurant rolled out food trucks, he raised his hand.

"Each week really depends, so we're anywhere from five to seven events a week right now," he said. "At the peak we were doing during COVID almost four events a day just because the demand was there."

The permit process to operate a food truck in the city of Boca Raton is two-tiered. For special or large events, owners must apply for a special event permit. For a smaller celebration like a birthday or Bar Mitzvah, the permit process is actually in the hands of the person holding the event and not the food truck operator.

"Right now, part of the challenge is the permits are supposed to be taken care of by the person asking us to be at the events, so that may or may not happen," Kiedis said.

Now, the city is looking to streamline the process.

"The last thing on a mom or dad's mind is getting a special event permit for their child's birthday party to have a food truck there," city Councilman Andy Thomson said. "So, it doesn't always make sense to have that level of regulation for something as easy as a food truck."

Thomson said the city has planned to make things more flexible.

"So long as they do it in one of the zones that we're going to allow, which should be industrial, business, residential, then they don't have to get a special event permit," he said.

Kiedis agrees with the change.

"It should be good for both the residents and businesses," he said.

In the next month or so the city council will flesh out ideas and eventually vote.