'This map doesn't make any sense': Destin wants to allow food trucks in more places

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In an effort to expand the areas around town where mobile vendors or food trucks can park, Destin City Councilman Kevin Schmidt asked staff to come up with a new map at the recent council meeting.

"This map doesn't make any sense," Schmidt said.

The current map has "random squares by houses" and yet if a food truck wanted to set up at Local Market or La Paz off Gulf Shore Dive on Holiday Isle, they could not, even with permission from the private business, according to the map, Schmidt said. 

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Customers order from the Say Cheese food trailer at HarborWalk Village.

"I want to provide a clearer understanding of usages around the city … to expand it to more allowable areas," Schmidt said. 

"Food trucks have become a whole lot more popular in the last few years. We need to have another look at it (the map) to get it in line with current times," Schmidt said. 

As part of that popularity, Destin held its first Food Truck Festival at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village last year in June. Another one is being planned for Oct. 2 this year at the same venue. 

Food trucks operating legally

Schmidt said he sees food trucks starting up everywhere and they do different pop-up lunches, "which I think is great … it gives the employees a place to eat as well as people driving by." 

The question is are the food trucks doing it legally? 

"I'd rather get in front of it than trying to call and complain," he said. 

How many food trucks operate in Destin? 

"I don't know how many we have. … I know we have a lot come through Destin. They go all over the place," he said, making mention of Niceville and Fort Walton Beach. 

"They travel around every day. They put a schedule out and they are at different locations all around our county. I don't think we should shut them down … just make it more flexible," he said. 

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Mayor Gary Jarvis questioned the food trucks or mobile vendors that "set up permanently." 

"Mobile food trucks and mobile food vendors are exactly that," Jarvis said, putting emphasis on mobile.

Jarvis said they are not to be camped out at the same place all the time. 

Councilman Dewey Destin said he thought the current map for the food trucks was done a long time ago, and the idea was to have them set up in a "festive market place." He even mentioned having trucks near the recreation areas so they could be available when games are going on. 

"Now how all those other boxes popped ... I'm not sure," Destin said. 

Destin was in favor of revamping the map for the food trucks. However, he said the council needed to proceed with caution and "go slowly." 

"We need to think about what we are doing before we go forward … before you can put them everywhere," he said.

The motion to have staff look into updating the map for the food trucks passed unanimously.