Food truck, open burning ordinances adopted by Grand Rapids City Commission

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Two high-profile ordinances - regulating food trucks and open burning - were adopted by the Grand Rapids City Commission Tuesday evening.

The food truck ordinance was passed with an unanimous 7-0 vote. This will allow food trucks to operate on certain public spaces (listed below), provided they follow specific guidelines. Initial proximity-based restrictions on food trucks were removed.

The ordinance curtails the noise level to 70 decibels from a distance of 15 feet away. The exhaust pipe of the food trucks are also required to point away from the service side of the truck. Prospective vendors will need to obtain a license from the city to run their trucks. This license will need to be renewed annually.

The open burning ordinance, adopted with two attached amendments, passed with a 4-3 vote. Now, city residents can burn wood recreationally in their backyards. Before, open burning was prohibited within city limits.

A backyard fire permit will be available at the City's Development Center. They will only be issued to properties with a minimum size of 5,000 square feet. There will be an application fee which will be later set by the city commission.

Other regulations include the type of firewood which can be used (dry, seasoned wood only) and that it's container must be at least 20 feet away from any structure or fence.

No fires will be allowed on high fire risk days or Ozone Action Days.

The two amendments shorten the open burn time from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and required that prospective applicants get neighbor permission from two adjacent homes. The city will check with neighbors before granting the license.

This ordinance won't go into effect until a fee structure is established.

Each ordinance was adopted as a two-year pilot and will be reviewed again in 2018.

Here are the so-called "food truck opportunity areas" established:

  • Gillette Bridge – The area on the Gillette Bridge pedestrian crossing from the east to west bank of the Grand River
  • Lyon Square – The paved public plaza area at the western terminus of Lyon Street SW.
  • Calder Plaza – The concrete public plaza surrounding the City-County Building. This zone also includes the metered parking spaces on the west side of Ottawa Avenue NW between Michigan Street and Lyon Street.
  • Canal Park – The paved public parking area within Canal Park.  Also the metered parking spaces on the west side of Monroe Avenue NE adjacent to Canal Park.
  • Sixth Street Park – The paved public parking area within Sixth Street Park.  Also the metered parking spaces on the west side of Monroe Avenue NE adjacent to Sixth Street Park.
  • Coldbrook Edge – The paved parking area along the east bank of the Grand River south of the Grand Rapids Fire Department station, north of the electrical transformer and west of the City Water Facility at 1101 Monroe Avenue NW.
  • Ionia Ave SW – The metered parking area along the west side of Ionia Avenue SW from Williams Street SW to WealthyStreet SW.
  • Grandville Ave – The metered parking on the east and west side of Grandville Avenue SW from the area underneath the 131 overpass to Cherry Street SW.
  • Commerce Ave – The metered parking area on the east and west side of Commerce Avenue SW from Oakes Street SW to Cherry Street SW.
  • Century Ave – The on-street parking area on the east and west sides of Century Avenue SW from Wealthy Street SW to Logan Street SW.
  • Fulton Street/131 overpass – The off-street public right-of-way areas to the north and south of Fulton Street W immediately under the 131 overpass.
  • Rosa Parks Circle – The paved area along the east side of Rosa Parks Circle from Monroe Center Street NW to Louis Street NW.
  • 22 Ottawa Avenue NW – The surface public parking located at the corner of Ionia Avenue NW and Fulton Street W commonly known as “the Wedge lot.”

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