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A soft serve ice cream trailer serves customers at the Anoka County Fairgrounds Friday, June 26. Food trucks could start popping up at various county-owned properties after the County Board created a permit to allow food trucks to operate on county property. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

Food trucks may begin operating at 14 area parks, libraries and county buildings.

In a 6-1 vote County Commissioners approved a special use permit for food trucks on county property June 23.

The permit is good for two consecutive days and can be renewed for up to 10 days if no other applicant is waiting to use the location. That way other trucks in line get a crack at each location.

Once a business leaves a location they must wait 10 days to reapply for that specific place. Only one permit may be held at a time, but a business may apply for a new one once its permit expires.

County-owned locations available for food trucks include parks, campgrounds, five libraries and some parking lots adjacent to county buildings. A few locations are explicitly out of bounds for food trucks, including the highway and park maintenance building, North Central Library, Centennial Library, license centers and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

This permitting process came out of concerns for local food truck owners whose income was significantly impacted by cancellation of events due to the pandemic, County Administrator Rhonda Sivarajah said.

Commissioner Matt Look shared concerns he heard from a city manager who opposed the permitting because the city wanted control over how and when food trucks could operate.

“I think the context of the conversation was that they may limit some of that given the fact that the restaurants are struggling due to COVID-19,” Look said.

Sivarajah said cities can still prevent food trucks from operating on county-owned property within their community.

Look also shared concerns about the amount of bureaucracy food trucks face. He argued it was interfering with commerce.

“They’re getting permitted to death, and they’re just trying to sell tacos or doughnuts,” Look said.

Schulte argued that this permit opens up opportunities for food trucks to operate on county property that didn’t exist before. He also pointed out that this permit can be removed months from now if the county is unsatisfied with the results.

Applying for this permit doesn’t cost anything, but food trucks are still required to have a standard permit to operate within the county, which costs $90 for a 21-day permit.

Questions on the new permit may be directed to Jacquel Hajder, the Anoka County economic development specialist, at 763-324-4609 or via email at jacquel.hajder@co.anoka.mn.us.

County-owned permit sites

• Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (main parking lot adjacent to visitor center), 9750 Egret Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids.

• Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Campgrounds (main parking lot adjacent to beach), 7373 Main St., Lino Lakes.

• Bunker Hills Campground (main parking lot adjacent to visitor center) 550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover.

• Lake George Regional Park (main parking lot adjacent to beach), 3100 217th Ave NW, Oak Grove.

• Crooked Lake Library, 11440 Crooked Lake Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids.

• Johnsville Library, 12461 Oak Park Blvd. NE, Blaine.

• Northtown Library, 711 County Highway 10 NE, Blaine.

• Rum River Library, 4201 Sixth Ave., Anoka.

• St. Francis Library, 3519 Bridge St. NW, St. Francis.

• Jackson Street parking lot, next to the Anoka Professional Building, 403 Jackson St., Anoka.

• The Lino Lakes Juvenile Correctional Facility parking lot, 7555 Fourth Ave., Lino Lakes.

• County Workhouse and Social Services, Rum River Campus (parking lot near Cottage No. 2), 3300 Fourth Ave., Anoka.

• Anoka County Sheriff’s Office visitor parking lot, 13301 Hanson Blvd. NW, Andover.

• Human Services Building – Blaine, 1201 89th Ave. NE, Blaine.

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