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Mobile food vendor rules getting lookover

The Ripon City Council is looking for consistency in mobile food vendors’ ordinance.

Mobile vendors or food trucks can be found at special events such as the Almond Blossom Festival or the farmers market or the industrial area of town.

The first one requires a special permit from the sponsor of the event while the other is covered under all zoning districts within the city limits in which no stopping for more than 10 minutes is allowed in any given space.

There’s also the unregulated – mobile food vendors associated with non-profits such as the ones at the youth baseball games at the Ripon Community Center along with the ones at the local youth football (Ripon Chiefs program) games and practices.

All this was included in the staff report at the Sept. 11 council meeting.

“The merchant has to have a special permit, but the school does not,” said Vice Mayor Leo Zuber, who indicated that this part of the existing regulations needs better clarification.

Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart agreed.

“As a whole, there needs to be revisions and clarification in some areas,” he said.

Councilman Daniel de Graaf also agreed on cleaning up the ordinance, pointing out that, as the current ordinance reads, there appears to be no issues with mobile food vendors interfering with downtown businesses.

“If the (mobile) vendors interfere with a local business or cost money then they may not be worth having in town,” he added.

Council directed staff to revise the ordinance and bring it back to a future meeting.

“There’s no rush on amending this ordinance,” Zuber said. “Staff should take their time in revising and look at how other cities handle mobile food vendors.

“There is an interest in having them at Mistlin Sports Park, special events and there’s discussion among merchants to have vendors for lunchtime events.”

Staff will look to revise the ordinance before bringing it back to council at a future meeting.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail