O'Fallon Progress

New regulations would accommodate popularity of food trucks

Establishing regulations for mobile food vendors, such as food trucks, is under consideration in O’Fallon, and the city has created an additional liquor license classification to cover outdoor events.

Setting these guidelines on food and drink were among the actions at the O’Fallon City Council meeting Monday.

An ordinance requiring these mobile vendors to go through the special event application process to operate in the city has advanced for approval to the Nov. 19 meeting. The vote was 12-1, with Alderman Robert Kueker voting no. Aldermen Matt Smallheer and Kevin Hagarty was not present.

Previously, O’Fallon did not have any regulations for food trucks, and with their growing popularity and the ongoing business expansion, officials thought they were needed. The ordinance also addresses noise levels, vehicle appearance, maintenance, signage, driver identification, vehicle safety and peripheral setup.

To issue a permit, the council would have to approve the location, date and time in the special event application.

The current ordinance had not been updated since the initial one passed in 1938 and was amended in 1996. With O’Fallon’s growing population and current business practices, the city felt defining mobile food vendors was needed, especially with two hospitals now in the area and the Reider Road area poised for growth.

Thirteen communities across the state were reviewed for comparison purposes. Because of home-rule, the city has the authority to police the manner of operations. Sale of alcohol, public health interests and sanitation were also considered for the proposed ordinance.

What recommendation city is voting on:

  • Food trucks must be kept in good mechanical and structural condition.

  • The driver must possess a valid driver’s license. The company name must be clearly displayed.

  • The city license (may be a decal or a hanging placard) must be visible to patrons.

  • Signage shall be limited to the vehicle and/or a free-standing sandwich sign.

  • *All such vehicles shall be kept in a clean, sanitary condition, and shall be thoroughly cleaned each day they are so used. It shall be unlawful to permit stale food, decaying matter or other waste material to accumulate in or on such vehicle while it is so used. If unwrapped foodstuffs are transported in any such vehicle, such goods shall be carried in a portion of the vehicle which is screened and protected against dust and insects. Proper sanitary refuse containers must be visible to patrons and must be removed before the mobile truck departs.

  • Tents, tables and chairs shall not be placed outside the designated vending area. Connection to city water and sewer is prohibited unless proper approval is obtained.

  • Noise will be regulated during hours of operation.

  • All applicable food and beverage taxes must be paid.

Where the food trucks can operate will vary, depending on events and needs in the community.

The city’s current food transportation fee is $25 per application. Fees in the reviewed ordinances ranged from $50 to $100.

O’Fallon is proposing a fee of $125 per mobile food truck, with an additional $25 food license and requirement to attach a St. Clair County food establishment permit to the application.

This will ensure that the mobile food truck vendor has completed food handling requirements and truck inspections in keeping with public health standards.

The proposed ordinance also establishes a penalty if the applicant does not register or operating improperly, an that will be a violation with a fine scale of not less than $25 and not more than $750 for each offense.

In a unanimous vote, the council added a new classification to the city’s liquor license, which also included setting an annual fee of $100 for the Class K designation.

This makes it easier for groups applying for special events and was added so that activities at the new downtown pavilion could serve alcoholic beverages, the mayor said. That would be through a local business or caterer. The applicant must have a valid liquor license to be eligible.

State guidelines are being followed for the caterer’s license. An applicant must demonstrate that they operate a catering business or a portion of their business involving catering or food preparation and service. Serving alcohol and consumption shall occur during a meal, unless the event is a pre-arranged private function for a specific social or business occasion, by invitation only and not advertised or open to the public.

The liquor license would carry a $100 annual fee.

Take out Italian

Also unanimously approved was an ordinance amending zoning for Primo’s Italian Garage, to be located at 729 W. Highway 50, Suite F.

Ryan O’ Day needed a planned use approval for a takeout and delivery Italian restaurant with alcohol sales in the back of a building along Principle Drive.

Because the restaurant will sell wine to customers using the delivery service, Alderman Matthew Gilreath asked Community Development Director Ted Shekell to explain how IDs were checked.

“I’ve received a number of calls on this,” Gilreath said. “They weren’t against it, they just wanted to find out more information.”

Shekell said this novel concept was already in practice in other communities, and also at the Primo’s Italian Garage in Edwardsville that O’Day owns. The IDs are checked, safeguards are in place, and underage minors can’t purchase the alcohol, he said.

Replacement radios

Because of an opportunity to purchase replacement radios from the St. Clair County ETSB at a discount price (55 percent off current list price), the city had to act quickly to take advantage of the savings.

The council approved the purchase Monday, as reserves were available in the General Fund, Fire and EMS to cover this purchase. This will result in budget amendments for FY19, now in the works.

For the police and EMS replacement radios, $168,985.29 will be used for the bulk discount purchase, which means an overall savings of $99,214.47, as the original quote was $286,199.76.

The Police Department has been replacing portable radios, which are worn on the hip, as budgeting allows, so only 24 needed to be replaced. Mobile radios, which are mounted in vehicles, number 33, but for now, the department request 18 mobile radios and 2 control stations for the Communications Center be purchased.

The portable radios being replaced can be used or will serve for replacements for radios assigned to functions other than patrol, such as Community Service Officers, Crime Free Housing, and training. Other uses for the replaced radios include use by the Police Explorers, or as a cache of radios deployable in the event of an emergency, manmade or natural.

Portable radios requested for the Emergency Medical Services are also newer technologies and supported radios. Currently, in many situations EMS staff are required to contact the control hospitals for specific patient care directives and find their only method of communication is via a personal cellular telephone.

The replacement radios will be dual band-equipped, meaning at the click of a switch the Paramedic/EMT will be able to communicate with other EMS Units, the Communications Center or the control hospital.

The 21 radios requested included a one-for-one replacement for the EMS business manager, 16 full time employees, and five for part-time employees. The replaced radios can also be utilized with the newly formed EMS Explorers for training and events as well as serving as a cache for dissemination during an emergency, manmade or natural.

The fire department also plans on replacing mobile and portable radios, and that cost would be $148,937.63, which represents a savings of $83,586.45.

Simmons Rd. reconstruction

In other action, the council approved a land acquisition services agreement with Lochmueller Group for $29,900, plus recording fees, that is related to the Simmons Road reconstruction project. A need for right-of-way and easement acquisition of property related to the project of Simmons Road between Milburn School Road and Porter Road.

The city also approved an annexation agreement with Christy and Rufino Jacinto for 2134 Bowler Road. The 3.12 acres has been zoned agricultural but will now be rural residential. They will receive a water tap, too.

After hours and Ward meetings

The mayor announced his after-hours would be 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 17, and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, for citizens to come to city hall to speak to him on any issues.

Alderman Robert Kueker announced that he and Alderman Jerry Albrecht would hold a Ward 2 Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. at City Hall (Council chambers).

Veterans Day

The mayor noted upcoming Veterans Day activities: Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Salute to Scott Tribute and Business Expo sponsored by the city, Chamber of Commerce and village of Shiloh, which takes place at Gateway Classic Cars; Sunday, Nov. 11, the Veterans Parade at 2 p.m.’ and Monday, Nov. 12, Veterans Day Services at 11 a.m. at the O’Fallon Veterans Memorial.