Food trucks will soon be popping up more places in Beaufort.
The city is finalizing new rules that will allow the vendors in more places.
Current rules limit food trucks to commercial areas with multiple businesses, like shopping centers. City officials have discussed designated areas for the mobile restaurants to operate during certain hours.
The new rules would have to be approved by two votes by City Council. After a final work session on the topic Tuesday, that means the trucks could be setting up shop soon.
The city aimed for the rules to begin in 2017, but they could go into effect as soon as Nov. 1, city manager Bill Prokop said.
A $200 vendor fee and business license would be required of food trucks operating in the city under the proposed rules. And there are certain places the businesses can’t park — within 200 feet of a home or neighborhood, on public streets and property except where designated and in core commercial areas like Bay, Scott and West streets.
Outside of the designated public areas and those allowed by zoning, the vendors would be allowed on private commercial property with permission.
“I think it’s a great fit,” said Tim Goddard, who sells boiled peanuts and corn on the cob.
Here are some places you might find them in the near future:
500 Carteret St. (aka the Beaufort Digital Corridor)
Tech and tacos?
Food trucks could operate here daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. under a draft of the rules.
The city bought the former bank building and parking lot last December to temporarily address parking needs. The purchase came with a large office building that has since been slated to become a technology hub known as the Beaufort Digital Corridor and attract startups and other small businesses offering high-paying jobs.
Food trucks are a way to help satisfy and retain the young people and high-paying jobs the city hopes to attract, said City Councilman Stephen Murray, who helped propose the looser rules.
Renovations to turn the Beaufort Digital Corridor into a sleek office space are underway. Food Truck Fridays at the Digital Corridor could be a reality soon.
Bladen Street lot
A lot at Bladen and North streets, about a block off the Beaufort River, is another area the trucks could operate.
The downtown Beaufort farmers market has struggled to find a foothold. Food trucks could be a way to draw more of a crowd.
The market operates Wednesdays on the lot near Santa Elena History Center off Bay Street. Food trucks would be allowed on the lot from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily, same as 500 Carteret.
Before moving to its current location, the farmers market had operated in Pigeon Point Park and Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
The traffic has not always justified the setup for some vendors.
“Our goal is to try to activate other areas of downtown to make downtown bigger than Bay Street,” Murray said.
Food trucks could bring life to Southside Park, a passive green space off Southside Boulevard with a tree farm, dog park and walking trail. Plans have long in the works for adding to the park but money has not been available.
Pigeon Point Park, off Pigeon Point Road, is another spot that could welcome the trucks. The park includes playground equipment and a large green space and walking trail.
The trucks and carts may operate on private property with a business owner’s permission. A successful food truck “rodeo” was held in Beaufort Town Center in 2014.
Food trucks can also negotiate to earn spots at special events like the Beaufort Water Festival and Shrimp Festival.