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Are food trucks allowed in New Hanover County?

Katie Coleman

The Cheesy Banker is one of many food trucks found in Wilmington. STARNEWS FILE

There are several food trucks that travel throughout Wilmington.

Wilmington zoning regulations do not directly refer to food trucks, which has caused some misunderstandings with regards to policy. New Hanover rules allow for a mobile unit to operate if it’s in conjunction with an existing restaurant, reports there daily for supplies and cleaning and passes inspection to receive a permit, just like a restaurant. The zoning regulations for Wilmington state that food trucks that set up in one location for more than “one or two hours” at a time need a temporary use permit in addition to property owners’ permission and a privilege license.

Food trucks that want to stay multiple days in a row at one location must get a temporary use permit. The temporary use permit allows the trucks to stay in one place for seven consecutive days or two weekends. The food truck owners then have to wait 45 days and reapply to sell somewhere else in the city. For more on the regulations, this article from October should help.

For a list of food trucks in the area and their contact information, check out the Port City Foodies blog.


User-contributed question by:
Julie Tuzzi

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One Response to “ Are food trucks allowed in New Hanover County?”

  1. On February 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm Scott G wrote:

    I am currently doing my homework on whether or not opening a food truck is feasible and have come into some very confusing conclusions. For one, I’ve heard mixed opinions about a “commissary rule”, some say it’s in affect, and others say that it was amended. The commissary rule is legislation that requires a food truck to utilize a commercial kitchen to prepare all food products. My biggest conflict with this is that I am a classically trained Johnson and Wales graduate with current ServSafe certifications and see no reason why, if the truck is up to par with the county health code and consistently prepare food in a safe and healthy manner while properly disposing of wastewater and grease, one should not be able to prep within the confines of the truck. There is a veritable plethora of additional obstacles to overcome in the food truck arena, from zoning, to permits, to plumbing and grease traps, and anyone who would have additional information is urged to respond to this submission. I believe that food trucks offer a more personal way to interact with local community, are a healthy addition that support to the local economy and small businesses, and offer the regular Joe an avenue to make an honest living doing what he loves. Food trucks are coming, they’re here, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

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