The Dare County Board of Commissioners, in a 5-0 vote, approved a zoning text amendment on Oct. 19 to allow business establishments in the unincorporated areas of the county to have up to five mobile food trucks on their property. Previously, the ordinance only allowed one truck per property.
Pangea Tavern owner and Koru Village founder Joe Thompson made the request for the amendment change last month, stating in a letter to the planning board that food truck courts are growing in popularity across the country and would complement brick-and-mortar restaurants.
In 2018, Dare County amended its zoning ordinance to allow for one food truck per business site, limiting the number permitted due to concerns there would be an excessive amount of food trucks that would compete with existing restaurants. That concern, however, never came to fruition with only a handful of applications for mobile food trucks since that time.
Luke Harris was among a few food truck owners to address commissioners during the Oct. 18 public hearing on the proposed amendment. Harris and his wife currently have their food truck at the Beach Klub in Avon, just across from Pangea.
“We think it would be beneficial for this to move forward,” Harris said. “Food trucks are a model where competition actually helps, where we can actually benefit each other by having more of us together.”
For his part, Thompson said he believes that the text amendment will create a community atmosphere as groups visiting the food truck courts can individually get what they want and go back to the same picnic table and share their meal.
“I think the food truck concept is really just somewhat of a snapshot of how we need to be doing more things as a community, and…I think the Outer Banks does a remarkable job of taking care of each other and ourselves,” he added.
Dare County Commissioner Danny Couch, who represents Hatteras Island on the board, offered kudos for the amendment change, noting one benefit to allowing food trucks is that staffing shortages aren’t typically an issue. He added that the Dare County Planning Board fully vetted the amendment change and that there aren’t a whole lot of restaurant properties that could support such a concept.
“This [Hatteras Island] is the only home I’ve ever known, and it’ll work there,” he concluded.