‘We want it to really be a food truck experience’

Food truck owners won’t need to apply for a temporary activities permit to operate in Hopewell Township.

Mayor Michael Ruger, Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Committeeman David Chait, and Committeewoman Uma Purandare voted “yes” to adopt the ordinance that has food trucks able to operate 180 days a year in the same location on Sept. 18.

“We started allowing food trucks in the township during COVID,” Ruger explained. “The reason we did that was because restaurants were closed and when they [reopened] people were getting food for takeout. … We thought it would be a good idea for folks to be able to use food trucks.”

[Food trucks] have been here for other purposes such as festivals and things like that, but not kind of on property, he added.

The Township Committee’s adoption of the ordinance sets regulations in the township code for the operation of food trucks throughout the municipality.

“We really did not have a way of authorizing [food trucks], so on a temporary basis we decided that we would use the temporary activities permit to allow a property owner to come in and request food trucks on their property,” Ruger said, noting the township attorney reminded them that “this really was not the best use of temporary activities permits.”

The new regulations allow for food trucks to operate without the need for a temporary activities permit.

Under the new ordinance, mobile food trucks can only operate in the municipality once the owner registers with the Clerk’s Office for a year. The registration cannot be transferred between food trucks. Each truck will have to be individually registered.

There is a $50 registration fee for each registration and the ordinance requires owners to have general liability insurance no less than $500,000 per incident and a fire inspection.

Only two food trucks are allowed at one time in the same location and more would have to be authorized by the Township Committee.

Food trucks are allowed to operate between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the ordinance.

That time can only be extended on a case-by-case basis and approved by the Township Committee in a resolution stating the need for extended time.

The trucks can only occupy the same location for 180 days a year and only seven consecutive days in a row. They cannot operate on township property without prior approval through a temporary activities permit or festival permit.

Ruger said the food trucks will be excluded from public streets, right-of-way or sidewalks and public parks.

“We don’t want mobile restaurants; we want it to really be a food truck experience,” Ruger said.

“So, this does not change of that part of the way we practice it rather will make it easier for an office park, school or somebody like that who wants to have a food truck come in particularly for once or twice a year basis.”

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