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Temporary standards in place should a food cart wish to set up shop in Molalla as permanent ordinance work begins

If a food cart wants to come into the city of Molalla, the city is ready for them. The Molalla City Council passed ordinance 2020-09 at its July 22 meeting which sets some temporary standards for food carts within the city limits moving forward.

The temporary language adopted is the first step toward creating permanent standards around the first of the year, said City Manager Dan Huff.

"Historically, the city never had any regulations or a way, based on our code language, that would allow food carts," explained. Huff. "We had some that got in under an old peddler's license like the one at (Highway) 211 and Hart, but when food carts have come up, we didn't have any regulations that would allow that."

Now, thanks to the recent vote, Molalla does.

Over the last few years, the city has received a few requests for food cart placement and, prompted by Mayor Keith Swigart, the city began to look at food cart requirement language, said Huff.

"We started a process to find out what the community kind of wanted in food carts," said Huff. "We started reaching out to the community for input. We then had a work study session with the city council and planned to go back out for more community outreach about what people wanted to see."

Unfortunately, that last component didn't really have a chance to get started as the pandemic reared its ugly head.

"We kind of lost our opportunity to do the next phase of community outreach we were planning," said Huff. "Because we couldn't do the outreach, the process kind of just hovered where we left it."

And with that, Huff and the council talked about some temporary language that would allow people to move in food carts if they were interested.

With the ordinance passed, a food cart can now come into town. It will need to get a business license and it can only be placed in certain spots.

"You can't just park it anywhere," said Huff. "We'd check to make sure where they want to place it complies with zoning requirements."

The process to create permanent language and an ordinance to enforce it will begin Aug. 5 when it comes before the Molalla Planning Commission. Huff said the goal is to have it in place by the first of next year.


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