Permit rules for mobile food vendors take effect in Knoxville

Permit rules for mobile food vendors take effect in Knoxville

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Byron and Kiki Sombat, owners of the Savory and Sweet truck, were the first to apply Monday morning. After an inspection Tuesday, they could be offering lunch to folks downtown as soon as Wednesday. Byron and Kiki Sombat, owners of the Savory and Sweet truck, were the first to apply Monday morning. After an inspection Tuesday, they could be offering lunch to folks downtown as soon as Wednesday.
It will cost $400 for a permit to park in the five downtown zones, or $200 to park on private property, but every truck will need to apply. It will cost $400 for a permit to park in the five downtown zones, or $200 to park on private property, but every truck will need to apply.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The signs are up and soon food trucks could be pulling up along Gay Street and other parts of downtown as new rules took effect Monday. Already one truck has applied for a permit and the city believes several others will follow suit.  

Food trucks have become a common sight on the streets of Knoxville, pairing with local businesses or popping up during festivals. Monday marked the first day they can apply to park on the streets of downtown on a regular basis.  

"We're excited to be the first truck out on the streets because it has taken us awhile to get to this point," said Byron Sombat.

Byron and Kiki Sombat, owners of the Savory and Sweet truck, were the first to apply Monday morning. After an inspection Tuesday, they could be offering lunch to folks downtown as soon as Wednesday.  

"I think we're going to provide something the people, especially downtown, really want and need," Sombat said. 

Its been a long time coming. The pilot program has been in development for about a year.  

"There's a dual permitting system. One permit allows them to park in the public zones as well as private parking, but we heard from some food trucks telling us they do not want to park in the public right of ways," said Patricia Robledo, Knoxville's business liaison.

It will cost $400 for a permit to park in the five downtown zones, or $200 to park on private property, but every truck will need to apply.  

"There will be a grace period to let them know," said Robledo.

After mid-June, trucks will face a fine. The only exception is special events, which includes the Farmer's Market. Trucks will not need a permit to attend.  

Part of the cost is to make up for the loss in parking meter funds, as the downtown zones will take up a few parking spots during the allotted hours.  

It's an exciting addition to Knoxville for the lunchtime crowd.

"You can just get some food on the go, go to the park, relax outside and eat and not have to wait in line," said Beth Melancon.

The city says they don't know how many trucks will sign up, but say they estimate around 10.  

The program creates five zones for vendors: Main Street near Locust, Church Avenue above Central, two locations on Gay Street and Jackson Avenue under the James White Parkway.

For a complete list of the zones and hours, along with all the pilot program rules, visit the City of Knoxville's website.
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