Things to know before submitting your permit application:
It depends on your zoning district.
Use the Town of Cary’s Property Information Research Map to verify your property’s zoning. Enter address in Property Research Map’s map search box at the top left corner, select “i” at upper right corner, results tab to find zoning district.
Yes, a permit is required.
- You need a permit for food trucks to be located on developed sites in Non-Residential Zoning Districts, Mixed Use Overlay Districts and Non-Residential Portions of Planned Development Districts, and HMXD, MXD, COM, OFC/INS and OFC/IND Sub-districts of the Town Center District.
No, a permit is not required but all standards apply.
- In Other Zoning Districts, food trucks may be allowed only on commonly-owned property within a residential development serving residents and guests at a private neighborhood activity or function. All location, general operation, and health and safety standards shall apply.
- As a Component of a Temporary Event: If food trucks are included as component of a temporary private or public event, the temporary use permit for the event itself, shall also identify the inclusion of food trucks and shall serve as the accessory use permit for the site for the duration of the event. Such food trucks shall only be operated during the hours of the event, which time does not include the time before and after the event where the operator is preparing to set up or remove the food truck.
- On Construction Sites: Food trucks are allowed on construction sites in all zoning districts in accordance with the following:
- The site is undergoing construction in accordance with an approved and valid site plan or subdivision plan and building permit.
- Such trucks may vend to person(s) lawfully authorized to be on the construction site, and not to the general public.
- General operational standards specified in Section 5.3.4(P)(1)(c) shall apply.
- Health and sanitation standards specified in Section 5.3.4(P)(1)(d) shall apply.
- Food trucks shall be parked in an appropriate location based on the location of active construction activity, as authorized by the general contractor consistent with safe construction site management practices
- NOTE:Food trucks may not be operated on public property such as parks or plazas, parking lots, public street rights-of-way, or public sidewalks except as specifically authorized by the Town and as part of an official public event sponsored or co-sponsored by the Town of Cary.
No more than three (3) food trucks may be located on a single lot at the same time.
- Food trucks may not be operated on public property such as parks or plazas, parking lots, public street rights-of-way, or public sidewalks except as specifically authorized by the Town and as part of an official public event sponsored or co-sponsored by the Town of Cary.
- Food trucks must be located in an area that is not actively used by an existing, approved principal use on a developed lot.crea
- Food trucks may not encroach upon open space, landscaping, fire lanes, vehicular access ways or pedestrian walkways, and shall not obstruct or disturb existing buffers or required setbacks from buffers or streetscapes.
- Food trucks shall be located a minimum of one hundred (100) feet from the main entrance of any eating establishment or similar food service business, any outdoor dining area, and any other food truck location, as measured in a straight line. (This 100-foot separation requirement shall not apply to a food truck located on the same lot as an eating establishment or similar food service business, outdoor dining area, or other food truck, so long as all other requirements of this Ordinance are met.)
- Food trucks may not be located within 150 feet of a lot with a dwelling unit as measured in a straight line from the location of the food truck to the nearest property boundary.
- In the event that one or more permanent restaurant or other food service establishment or residence is located within the minimum separation requirement after an accessory use permit for a food truck location has been issued, the food truck may continue to operate under the terms of its Accessory Use Permit until said permit expires.
- Food trucks shall be located a minimum of five (5) feet from any fire hydrant, sidewalk, utility box, handicap ramp and building entrance.
- Food trucks may not occupy parking spaces required to fulfill the minimum requirements of the principal use, unless the hours of operation of the principal use do not coincide with those of the food truck.
- Food trucks may only operate between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
- Food trucks must be removed from all permitted locations during the hours when they are not permitted to be in operation, and may not be stored, parked, or left overnight on any public street or sidewalk.
- One sandwich board sign shall be allowed.
- Amplified music is not permitted.
- Outdoor seating areas for dining associated with a food truck, including but not limited to tables, chairs, booths, bar stools, benches, and standup counters, are not permitted.
- All food preparation, storage, and sales or distribution by a food truck operator shall be in compliance with all applicable County, State and Federal Health Department sanitary regulations. In accordance with such laws, the food truck shall return daily to a commissary for proper servicing.
- The operator shall keep all areas within five (5) feet of the food truck and any associated customer or dining area clean of grease, trash, paper, cups or cans associated with the food truck.
- Each food truck operator is responsible for the proper disposal of solid waste associated with the operation of the food truck and any outdoor dining areas. Public trash receptacles are not to be used for this purpose.
- Operators shall remove all waste and trash prior to leaving their approved location or as needed to maintain the health and safety of the public.
- No waste or grease may be disposed in storm drains, the sanitary sewer system or onto the sidewalks, streets, or other public spaces.
- If at any time evidence of the improper disposal of liquid waste or grease is discovered, the food truck operator shall be required to cease operation immediately. The owner of the food truck business shall be liable for the violation.
- A copy of the following shall be clearly displayed on each food truck
- NC Sales and Use Certificate for collecting and paying the proper sales taxes and prepared meals taxes
- Wake County Environmental Services Vending Permit and a means for the disposal of grease within an approved grease disposal facility
This food truck permit is valid for one calendar year from date of issuance.
Homeowner Associations (HOA’s) have private authority to regulate the structures and uses permitted within a neighborhood. Whether or not Cary permits them in your zoning district, if your HOA prohibits home occupations, you are not allowed to have them. Or if your HOA has more stringent rules, then you must follow those rules instead. You should contact your association or Management Company for that information.
Permits are processed through the Town’s electronic application system, IDT (live link).
- Read this Citizen Guide to Food Truck Permits understand the standards and documents you will need on hand to apply.
- Link to Town of Cary electronic permit application system.
- Create user account in IDT
- If you’re a first-time user of IDT, a user account will need to be created. To begin this process simply click the “Register” button located in the upper right-hand corner of the IDT home page
- Complete application and upload documents
- To Begin the Application:
- Select “Submit a Project for Review” (yellow button located mid-page)
- For Application Category select “Accessory Use Permits”
- For Application Type select the permit type requested
- For Project Title enter your address and the permit use being applied for such as:“316 N. Academy- Food Trucks”
- Upload Documents:
- To Begin the Application:
All required documents shall be uploaded as individual PDFs and named accordingly (i.e. site layout, property owner approval, etc.)
Site Layout showing the specific location of each food truck. Show the required distances from the elements listed in 5.3.4(P)(1)(b) Locational Standards. (A site layout is not required for food trucks serving residents and guests at a neighborhood activity or function on commonly-owned property within that residential development.)
NC Sales and Use Tax Certificate for each food truck vendor.
Wake County Environmental Vending Permit for each food truck vendor.
- Property Owner Authorization (if applicant is not property owner of record, applicant must submit signed authorization granting applicant permission to obtain a permit for food trucks.)
Permits are processed within two weeks of a complete submission.
There is a $50 processing fee for the Accessory Use Permit.
No. An inspection of the proposed food truck will not typically be conducted by the Town of Cary as part of the permitting process unless the review of the permit indicates the need to verify information. The Town will inspect and determine compliance with the ordinance on a complaint basis or if staff observation indicates that a violation may be occurring.