Existing Mobile Vending Regulations
CityCode Section 4.35 regulates mobile vending on City streets. As defined in this section, mobile vendors include businesses “selling a product from a motor vehicle, cart or trailer towed by a vehicle on a temporary, intermittent or seasonal basis.” The definition is also specific to “sales conducted on a public street.” This section of City Code currently allows for mobile vending on City streets after obtaining an owner’s permit and operator’s licenses which are contingent on criminal and background checks conducted by the Police Department, drug/alcohol screening, issuance of a Business License by the Finance Department, approval by the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department, and a public hearing conducted by the Chief of Police. Issued permits are subject to requirements that the owner maintain liability insurance and hold the City harmless from liability that may arise from the conduct of the business. Permitted mobile vendors are also subject to all of the operating conditions contained in section 4.35.080, which includes a limitation on parking to conduct business to 15 minutes, prohibition on vending on a state highway, limitations on vending in the vicinity of schools, requirement to vend on the non-traffic side of the vehicle, as well as other requirements. This section prohibits mobile vending on private properties unless approved as part of a permitted Temporary Activity.
A temporary activity is “an organized event or a commercial activity that does not occur more than four times in a calendar year and that does not exceed fourteen consecutive days in duration.” (TRPA Code Section 90.2). City Code Section 6.55.230 includes substitute standards for temporary activities that include a limit on the duration of a permitted temporary activity to 4 days, requirement for appropriate parking, signage, pedestrian and vehicle circulation, and waste management, as well as other safety and nuisance related standards. Temporary activities may consist of parking lot events, festivals, and other events that include mobile vendors.
El Dorado County Department of Environmental Management
The El Dorado County Environmental Management Department regulates and permits all mobile food vehicles as they relate to the requirements of the California Retail Food Code. All Mobile Food Facilities (MFF)s shall go through a plan review and inspection with the Environmental Health Division prior to permit issuance. The California Retail Food Code defines a MFF as “any vehicle used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed at retail.” This includes full service catering trucks, taco trucks, hot dog carts, ice cream trucks and coffee carts.
Each MFF must have its own El Dorado County health permit, to be located conspicuously on the facility at all times. A plan check is requiredand must include detailed drawings of the vehicle’s construction, equipmentspecifications and a written plan of operations. Each vehicle must have anowner or employee who has passed an approved and accredited food safetycertification exam.
All MFF’s are required to show proof of an approved commissary which has an existing permitted commercial kitchen (e.g. restaurant, market,etc.). The MFF shall use the commissary for storage of food and supplies,cleaning and sanitizing of utensils, sanitary disposal of garbage and liquidwaste, filling of the potable water tank, cleaning and maintenance of the MFF,and any food prep that can’t be performed inside the vehicle. An MFF operatoris not permitted to do any of these activities from home. The mobile food unitshall report to the commissary at least once each operating day for cleaningand servicing. Any liquid waste (e.g., ice melt, hand washing, etc.) must bedrained at the commissary.
A MFF cannot set up pop-up tents or utilize open-air BBQ’s or anoutdoor wood burning oven; these are only allowed via a permitted CommunityEvent.
Community events must be temporary in nature to meet EnvironmentalManagement’s requirements for permitting. For example, a business thatserves beverages to the public on a daily or weekly basis, year round, cannotbe permitted as a Community Event.
If a MFF conducts business in a specified location for more thanone (1) hour, an approved restroom is required to be located within 200 feet.The owner of the restroom must sign a form stating they are granting permissionfor the MFF to use their restroom, and that they will maintain the cleanlinessand the supplies inside the restroom.
The County is responsible for assuring the CA Housing &Community Development (HCD) has approved the MFF and has issued an “Insignia”(see below for HCD Insignia requirements) to be displayed on the facility.
For more information visit the El Dorado County Environmental Health Department website at:
California Department of Housing and Community Development
CA Housing & Community Development is a State agency that inspects and certifies vehicles as “special purpose commercial modular.” California Health & Safety Code section 18012.5 defines a special purpose commercial modular as:
“…a vehicle with or without motive power, designed and equippedfor human occupancy for industrial, professional or commercial purposes…”
This includes any fully enclosed mobile food facility in which the operator occupies the vehicle to cook or prepare food for service.
The HCD regulations can be found in CaliforniaCode of Regulations, Title 25, Division I, Chapter 3, Subchapter 2, Article3.5. Special Purpose Commercial Modulars. The provisions of this article relating to construction and fire safety apply to all special purpose commercial modulars, manufactured after September 1, 1979, which are sold or offered for sale, rented or leased within this state. The regulations address fire, exiting, ceiling height, room dimensions and construction, glass and glazed openings, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, ventilation and equipment safety.
HCD inspects Special Purpose Commercial Modulars for compliance with the following Codes:
Health and Safety Code 18028 - construction, alteration, or conversion of commercial modulars
California Building Standards Code - California Code ofRegulations Title 24
More information on these regulations and the required HCD insignia can be found on the HCD website or by calling the Northern Area Office at (916) 255-2501.
City Business License
Any business needs a license or permit to operate legally, but going mobile requires you to get permits for all the cities and counties where you operate, not just your static business address.
More information on City Business Licenses can be found at:
City Finance Department