Food Cart Information

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City of Kelso's policy based upon the codes pertaining to food trucks.

1. All food trucks must have all necessary licenses. This includes but may not be limited to:

                - Vehicle license

                - Driver's license

                - Vehicle insurance

                - Food handler permits

                - Health department permits

                - State business licenses

                - City business license

                - Business insurance

                - Inspected and approved by Labor & Industry to be used as a food truck



2. So long as the food truck is operated only on City streets, no additional permitting is required. It is viewed as any other vehicle. You can only park in the areas that are legal to park and drive where it is legal to drive. That simple. I do encourage you however, that if you park along a curb that you do not set up any temporary signs that will block the sidewalk for any pedestrian activity including handicapped activities (ADA). ADA passage is typically measured at 42 inches across.


You are NOT allowed to set up tables or chairs for customers to use on a sidewalk. 


Also, be aware of pedestrian crosswalks and how much clearance vehicles need to see around you at intersections when selecting a site to park at. You don't want your business associated with vehicle accidents or pedestrian accidents while doing business. That will only hurt your business in the long run.


3. The vehicle must be self-contained. You may NOT run hoses to or from buildings to supply the truck with electricity, water or sewer services. Besides the obvious tripping hazard, I am sure that you are aware there are regulations about how and where you may dump the waste from a food truck. This is typically addressed by the Health Department at the time you receive this permit. By prohibiting you from using someone's electricity, water, and sewer at a location that you are using to sell your product, we help ensure compliance with this permit, perceived or otherwise.


4. If you choose to set up in a lot, make sure that you have permission from the property owner. I encourage this to be in writing if at all possible for your protection.  You may NOT hook up to their electricity, water or sewer even with their permission. If you choose to hook up to a lot owner's water and sewer, you will need a Temporary Use permit from the City along with the licenses listed above.


5. If you choose to set up in a lot or parking and stay overnight, even just one night, you will need a Temporary Use permit along with the licenses listed above.


6. If you choose to set up in a lot or parking lot and not move you will need a Temporary Use permit along with the licenses listed above. This permit is valid for 90 days. If you do decide to stay at a single location and not move you will need to reapply for the permit every 90 days.


7. You may not park overnight in a City owned parking lot, including but not limited to all City parks.


8. Unless you have the necessary state placard or plates, you may not park in an identified handicapped parking spot.


One last thing to remember as you conduct your business: Requirements for a brick and mortar store are significantly higher than for food trucks. Which is why food trucks are very attractive for starting a restaurant. We (you and the City) will hear complaints from competitors as well as other business owners. If we (read, the council) hear to many complaints, legislation could be enacted that would restrict the activity of food trucks. The council will always take into account the amount of investment that a business owner puts into our community and food trucks are at a disadvantage in that regard.


With this in mind, please be a good neighbor at all times. Always be polite, even when a property owner is in your face. You do not have to take abuse but you don't have to add to a bad situation. Treat them as the customer you want them to be someday. Always, pick up trash from your customers and haul it away yourself, don't leave it with the thought that the City will come out and clean up after you. And try very hard to not block a competitors front door. Whether food trucks flourish or fail within the City of Kelso is totally up to you and other food truck operators.