A new ordinance, which City Council members passed on first reading, would allow food trucks to operate on city streets. Previously, food trucks gathered at the 700 block of Market Street before that property was sold. (Photo: Staff)

Food trucks will likely soon be allowed on public property, including some city streets, thanks to a new ordinance that City Council members approved Tuesday night.

The ordinance passed on its first reading with a 9-0 vote. The final vote will take place on Aug. 14.

Previously, city code only allowed food trucks to operate on private property.


In August 2017, several food truck owners started a petition to change the rules and allow them to operate on public streets.

UTC’s Student Government Association also voiced support for more food trucks by passing a resolution asking City Council to look at the matter.

Since then, the city’s ordinance has undergone a series of reviews by the council, the Chattanooga Department of Transportation, the Department of Open Spaces, food truck owners, brick-and-mortar restaurant owners and other affected groups.

In order to operate in public areas, food truck owners must get approval and permits for the area they wish to operate in. CDOT, Open Spaces, and the Hamilton County Health Department will be involved in the approval process.

Additional regulations exist for owners wishing to operate in public parks and at Youth and Family Development Centers.

Officials plan to do a study after one year to determine the economic effects of the ordinance and if any changes need to be made.

The full ordinance, which includes the list of restrictions for food trucks, can be found on the city’s website.

Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in political science. Alina has over three years of journalism experience including time spent with CNN and 2nd & Church, a magazine based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Alina at [email protected] or on Twitter @alinahuntergrah