City working on regulations during food truck moratorium

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie | ablanks@thedestinlog.com
Vendors line up along HarborWalk earlier this year in Destin. FILE PHOTO

In early August, Destin City Council voted unanimously to approve a six-month ban on mobile vendor permits along the Destin harbor.

Since then, city staff has been working closely with mobile business owners and the Harbor CRA advisory committee to craft regulations that officials hope will curb what they see as negative trends developing in the harbor district, including insufficient parking and unwanted congestion. 

Steve Schmidt, development director for the city of Destin, said that he has been leading a series of workshops with representatives on both sides to better determine the needs of both the business owners and the community. 

"We're trying to reach some sort of reasonable accommodation between the desires and needs of local businesses and the desire of the city to keep the harbor front an attractive and family-oriented place for people to visit," he said. 

One possible regulation is the banning of tents and canopies, except for special events. 

"It's not up to us to decide, but I think our recommendation is that those (tents and canopies) could actually pose a hazard in the event of a micro-burst in a thunderstorm," Schmidt said. "It's something that could get ripped up because it's not adequately fixed to the ground." 

Schmidt said he hopes to have recommendations ready to present to the Destin City Council to vote on before March 1, 2017. 

City Councilman Chatham Morgan said he is "excited to getting something in front of me to vote on."

“I'd like to see just reasonable and enforceable codes, which is something we didn’t have in the past," Morgan said.  "The importance of those is that we can reign in the clutter and keep that area beautiful.

"We’re not looking to stifle business," he added. "We’re just looking to get a grip on it."