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RFD- 4043 Business Items   Item #:   4. a.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 09/21/2020  
Title:    Mobile Vending Strategy - Towle
Presenter: David Towle
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: High quality leisure, recreational, commercial and social infrastructure and amenities that meet the interests and needs of the greater community are in place and conveniently accessible.

Request for Decision Summary
Planning and Development has worked with Enforcement Services and Recreation Services to evaluate regulatory and enforcement options regarding food trucks and other mobile vendors. Through evaluation of our existing bylaws and practices in other municipalities, a strategy has been developed to make approvals for these uses easier and to address a variety of identified issues and concerns.

Proposed Motion
That this report on an intended Mobile Vending Strategy be received as information. 
Mobile vending has numerous forms and potential impacts on our community. The forms include, but not limited to: food trucks, ice cream bicycles, fresh produce carts/stands, and Christmas tree sales. These vendors can add to the local fabric of a community, creating meeting points or destinations for pedestrian or bicycle trips, but can also create traffic problems (vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian) or noise issues if not located in appropriate locations.

Planning and Development has been working with Enforcement Services and Recreation Services to evaluate options regarding food trucks and other mobile vendors. Through evaluation of existing bylaws and practices in other municipalities, a strategy has been drafted to make approvals for these uses easier and to address the following:
  • Clarity regarding mobile vending regulations;
  • Enforceability - Enforcement needs to be able to enforce if needed;
  • Approvals need to be prompt;
  • Safety standards need to be satisfied;
  • Policy for use of public land; and,
  • Policy for use of road right-of-way.
Business Licence
Regardless of the vendor location, operating on private property, road right-of-way, or public lands, the City of Spruce Grove (City) has an interest in ensuring that the vendors have all safety and health approvals, as required. To ensure this, proof of all safety and/or health approvals will be required as part of the application process for mobile vending business licences. As these safety checks / requirements would be specific to City business licences, all mobile vendors operating within the City would be required to obtain a City of Spruce Grove Business Licence – a Tri-Municipal Business Licence will not be accepted for this business type.

The City has had numerous requests for food trucks over the past few years and the problems encountered are usually related to the timing of approvals. For locations on private properties (including City lands) all mobile vendors are currently considered a use or development and are required to attain a development permit under the Land Use Bylaw. As the development permit approval process includes an appeal period, even if the development authority could turn around a decision in one day, the official approval cannot be issued until after the close of the appeal period (this is about a 21 day process).

In the fall of 2018, Administration was requested to address the difficulties in attaining approvals for food vendors in Jubilee Park. Planning and Recreation Services worked together to make the process more user friendly. To achieve this, operating as the owner representative, Recreation identified specific vending sites before the summer and requested development permits for each; then, for the summers of 2019 and 2020, they used their authority under the Parks and Open Space Bylaw to allow vendors to use those sites by issuing letters of authorization to approved vendors. This process avoided the delays applicants had been experiencing when required to apply for development permits and needing to wait through the approval and appeal periods.

Parks and Open Spaces
The process developed for Jubilee Park has been expanded to other park areas - for 2020 sites were added to the parking area adjacent Central Park. The revised strategy retains this method, with the possible change from a Letter of Authorization to a vending permit under the draft Parks and Open Space Bylaw.

Vending on Private Property
A similar process to that used by Recreation Services could be used where owners of private property wish to establish a mobile vending site on their property; however, as a development permit is currently still required, it would take some forward planning the first time a request is made as an appeal period is a legislated requirement.

To alleviate the appeal delay in approval, an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw identifying that mobile vending does not require a development permit has been prepared. Planning and Development still believes that some level of control is required for these uses and has been working with Recreation and Enforcement Services to come up with control / compliance measures.

Under the provision of the future Land Use Bylaw amendment, a mobile vendor wishing to operate on a site within the C1, C2, M1, or PS districts would be able to do so without a development permit. They would have to have a valid City of Spruce Grove mobile vending business licence and operate within the regulation provided by the Land Use Bylaw and receive a Letter of Authorization from the site owner, but the City would not have to get involved in the authorization – that would be between the vendor and the site owner. Enforcement Services would be able to provide enforcement through the regulations of the Land Use Bylaw if and where required.

Vending within Road Rights-of-way
To operate within the City on a public road right-of-way a mobile vendor will need to have a valid City of Spruce Grove Business Licence and a vending permit issued through the Traffic Bylaw. The vending permit will have an associated terms and conditions section that will identify all regulations, limitations, and expectations for conducting mobile vending business within the road right-of-way. With all such vendors agreeing to the standard terms and conditions, Enforcement Services will be aware of these and could provide any required enforcement through the Traffic Bylaw.

The Path Forward
The next steps intended by Administration will be to commence with amendments to the Land Use Bylaw, the Food Truck Policy, and the Business License Bylaw using the following understanding: 
  • Mobile Vending:
    • Food trucks, food carts, bicycle vendors, mobile sales non-permanent  (Christmas trees, fish, corn, etc);
  • Business Licence: A City of Spruce Grove Business Licence is required for ANY mobile vendor within Spruce Grove. As part of the business licence approval process, all required safety and health approvals will be checked.
  • Road rights-of-way: Vending Permit issued under the Traffic Bylaw is required (regulations and guidelines would be provide as part of the permit) and a City of Spruce Grove Business License;
  • Private Lots: Authorization from the property owner is required (specific requirements for mobile vending would be within the Land Use Bylaw) and a City of Spruce Grove Business Licence. This would only be applicable in the C1, C2, M1, and PS districts – a development permit would be required in all other districts;
  • Municipal Lands:
    • Within City Parks and Open Spaces, mobile vending is not permitted except in those specific locations where Recreation Services has acquired development permit approval. Recreation Services will then grant authorization to vendors that have a business license and provided other supporting documentation.
    • On other municipal land (for example the parking lot at City Hall), mobile vendors will need authorization from the City, a valid business license, and, depending on the applicable land use district, potentially a development permit.
Develop alternative strategy or continue with the current policy.
Administration reviewed the mobile vending processes of numerous urban municipalities in Alberta and some from other provinces, and discussed the pros, cons, and rationale of those processes with administration from a number of those municipalities. The proposed mobile vending strategy is a combination of the policy from these municipalities, assembled with the goal of addressing identified concerns with our current process while working with our existing bylaws.
To implement this mobile vending strategy, amendments/revision will be required to:
  1. Land Use Bylaw
  2. Food Truck Policy
  3. Business Licence Bylaw
  4. Development Fees and Fines Bylaw
Once the amendments are in place, a mobile vending information guide should be developed and communicated to the public prior to the 2021 spring vending season.

The proposed mobile vending strategy will be compatible with the Traffic Bylaw and the Open Space Area Bylaw, which are currently under review by Administration. 
Implementation of this mobile vending strategy will help provide clarity in regard to mobile vending requirements and will reduce or eliminate waiting periods for required approvals.

Mobile Vending Flow Chart
Spruce Grove Mobile Vendor

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