Food truck companies want to change old Bay County law

A local food truck owner is starting a petition to protest the county's food truck ordinance. We look at both sides of the issue.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:33 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - They’re the popular pick for a quick grab-and-go. Food trucks have been on the rise in Bay County since Hurricane Michael. But an old law forcing trucks to move every week is making it tough for some to stay in business. Now one company is rolling out some ideas for change.

The perfect pick me up with a whole lot of love in every pour.

“Panama City Coffee is a passion project. If you want to make money, don’t go into coffee,” Daniel Pratt, Co-Owner of Panama City Coffee Company, said.

Panama City Coffee Company has been rolling around Bay County serving unique blends since the summer.

“It was after the hurricane when this place really got demolished. I thought to myself like, well, what can I do to like improve the quality of life,” Pratt said.

But it wasn’t long before co-owners Pratt and Joe Thomas noticed a pretty big roadblock.

“The seven-day restriction that the county has for food trucks requires us to move every seven days it actually became a hindrance,” Thomas said. “Where are you guys? Where are you guys? We spent more time on social media telling people where we were than serving coffee.”

“Being in people’s rhythm is really important. So, especially when it comes to coffee, people want to know where they’re going to get their coffee when it’s happening. And so being in one spot is really key to the whole thing. Since moving around, hasn’t been so great. You know, it’s kind of forcing to make it work,” Pratt said.

The duo recently brought it to the county’s attention, not only in person but also through an online petition which more than 850 people have signed in support of.

“The petition was to let people know, hey, if you wanted to start a food truck, here are some of the hurdles you would have to go through,” Pratt said.

County officials said they agree changes need to be made.

“We do recognize that food trucks are a desire of the constituents and we don’t like to work at the speed of government. We’re working as fast as we can,” Joel Schubert, Deputy County Manager for Bay County, said. “But there’s a process to be followed it has to be vetted through the planning commission, and then it goes to the county commission. And we’re, we’re in the middle of doing that right now.”

While they’re looking at how other local governments handle food trucks, there are more things to be considered.

“We’re looking at ingress egress safety factors. So they have facilities, restroom facilities, and enough parking is our main concern beyond the seven-day limitation,” Schubert said. “We want to consider it as there are land use codes and their zoning. When you look at a larger, undeveloped parcel that a party may want to put a food truck court in. So we’re looking at hardcoding that in our code as well.”

Every box has to be checked, before giving the ok to park in one place.

“That’s all they do is coffee? They must be doing something different,” Thomas said.

The Panama City Coffee Company food truck will be parked outside Kartona Electric Speedway in Panama City Beach through the end of this week.

Copyright 2022 WJHG. All rights reserved.