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Council Grants Extension To Mobile Food Vendors
The Tacos El Pollo food truck is located in front of the Star Market at 2622 Patterson Road. A pilot program in Riverbank allowing mobile vendors was set to expire on Oct. 1, but a unanimous vote of the city council extended the deadline for a another year. City staff has been preoccupied with dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and its ramifications, so they were unable to complete a new ordinance to replace the pilot program by the October deadline. Ric McGinnis/The News

The City of Riverbank has had a Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program on the books since 2019. The city council voted at its last September meeting to extend the program for up to another year.

Though the council had earlier directed staff to work up a permanent food vendor ordinance to replace the pilot program, there have been some delays that prompted council members to take a slightly different direction.

At the Sept. 22 council meeting, city staffers reported that priorities for outreach, enforcement and development had shifted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That prevented them from completing the ordinance, they told council members. On the council agenda was a request to extend the pilot program for an additional six months, so those vendors, already operating with temporary permits, could remain in business while staff completes work on the permanent ordinance.

Staff also reported that there had been no complaints against the truck operators, though there were some social distancing concerns last spring that were quickly resolved. They said that the general feedback from the community has been very positive.

Although staff asked for just six more months to complete its work, after some discussion, the council voted unanimously to extend the deadline for a whole year. But they noted that staff didn’t have to take the whole year to develop the new permanent ordinance if they could work more quickly.

Once done, the item will be brought back before the council for consideration.

There are a number of the mobile food vendors operating in and around Riverbank, with a number of them clustered around Patterson Road and Callander Avenue. Popular in many communities, they also have had to make some adjustments for social distancing but always had the ‘outdoor dining’ option that has become so prevalent during the pandemic.

Los Canelitos Taqueria is situated next to Riverbank Recycle, 2780 Patterson Road, adjacent to the stoplight at Callander Avenue, one of many mobile food trucks permitted over the past year. The pilot program allowing the trucks was set to expire on Oct. 1, but the Riverbank City Council voted to extend it at its Sept. 22 meeting. Ric McGinnis/The News