SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of South Haven approved changes to where, how long and how many mobile vendors can set up shop, including food trucks.
The updated regulations were approved by city council members at their March 20 meeting, where Fruit Street Kitchen co-owner Monique Crawley was among the attendees.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me that it was going to pass, but of course it was refreshing to have it finalized,” Crawley said. “We’ve all been working on it, between the city council, the planning commission, other members of the community, myself and other business owners.”
Most notably, those businesses can now operate year-round instead of just April through October — a change that Crawley called for from the beginning.
“It definitely made us have to make different transitions. We had to get creative in our finances, I’ll say. We managed,” Crawley explained. “But this year, it’s fortunate that we don’t have to restrict our budget as much. We may be able to enjoy the winter months and still serve up deliciousness, even when it’s cold outside.”
The changes also have allowed operational hours start at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., while still closing at 10 p.m.
“Previously, food trucks were limited to operating in the B2 and B4 business districts,” added assistant city manager, Griffin Graham. “Now, they’ll be allowed to operate in the B1, B2, B3, B4, as well as the industrial zoning districts in the city of South Haven.”
Along with where else they can set up shop, Graham said the yearly maximum of licensed permits is also increased to 10 and exemptions for food trucks to operate downtown during city council-approved community events are allowed. Outside of that, downtown properties are still not allowed to have a food truck on them and a new land use for a rumored food truck park were not included in the overall changes.
“Both of those topics were discussed in detail,” Graham explained. “City council decided right now not to move forward with implementing either of those.”
Yet on-the-go business owners like Crawley are eager to welcome customers without having to wait until Saturday or say goodbye to them on Halloween.
“I’m all smiles,” Crawley said. “I’m definitely looking forward to what this brings for the future of South Haven and other entrepreneurs like myself. This opens up a lot of doors and a lot of avenues for other street vendors, not just mobile kitchens.”
Graham said city council could theoretically revisit the changes, including how many permits they can give out and where mobile vendors and food trucks could set up shop. But the changes approved by members will stay as is for the time being.
The ordinance changes in their entirety can be read on South Haven’s website.