Mobile Food Vehicles

The following ordinance is now in effect for the use of Mobile Food Vehicles in Thomas Township.  An application for the use of a “Mobile Food Vehicle” must be completed prior to the operation of any of these food vehicles.  The fee for the application is $25.00 and can be found below.






Chapter 5 Mobile Food Vehicles


The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meaning
subscribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Mobile Food Vehicle, means any motorized or non-motorized vehicle, trailer, or other
device designated to be portable from which food or beverages is vended, served, or offered for

Operate, shall mean all activities associated with the conduct of business, including set up
and take down and/or actual hours where the mobile food vehicle is open for business.

Vendor, means any individual engaged in the business of mobile food vending; if more
than one individual is operating a single mobile food vehicle, the vendor shall mean all
individuals operating such mobile food vehicle.

2-5-2: SCOPE:

The provisions of this article apply to mobile food vehicles engaged in the business of
cooking, preparing and/or distributing food or beverages with or without charge upon or in public
and private restricted spaces. This article does not apply to a religious, charitable or non-profit
organization or Parks and Recreation events under the discretion of the Parks and Recreation Director, which supply food or beverages with or without charge or events on school and Thomas Township Parks property. This article does not apply to food vending pushcarts and stands lawfully located on sidewalks.


A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate within the Township, a mobile food vehicle,
without having obtained from the Community Development Department a license for that purpose.

B. A person desiring to operate a mobile food vehicle shall make written application for
such license to the Community Development Department. The application for a license shall be on forms provided by the Community Development Department and shall include the following:

(1) Name, signature, phone number, email contact and home base business address of the applicant.

(2) A description of the preparation methods of food product offered for sale,
including a copy of the intended menu if published.

(3) Information on the mobile food vehicle, including the year, make and model
of the vehicle, the dimensions, paint color, lighting within the vehicle and outside the vehicle. A photo of the mobile food vehicle showing a typical side view is required.

(4) Information setting forth the proposed hours of operation, days and dates of
operation, area of operation, plans for power access, water supply and wastewater

(5) Copies of all necessary licenses or permits required by the Saginaw County Health

(6) Insurance coverage:

a. Proof of general comprehensive liability insurance with limits no less
than $1,000,000 combined single limit coverage issued by an insurer
licensed to do business in this state and which names the Township as an
additional insured.

b. Proof of a public liability and property damage motor vehicle policy
with limits of no less than $1,000,000 issued by an insurer licensed to do
business in this state.

c. The fees for a license required under this article shall be those fees on file with the Township Clerk which have been approved and filed by the Township Manager and which have been approved by the Township Board within a fee resolution. The recommended fee shall be $25.00 per application.

d. Each mobile food vehicle Township license shall expire on the day following
the final day of operation as listed on the application with maximum number of
days not exceeding forty-five (45) days per calendar year.

e. A license issued under this article shall not be transferrable from person to person and shall not be transferred between vehicles.

f. All licenses shall be prominently displayed on the mobile food vehicle.


(7) A plot plan from the Saginaw GIS of the proposed location of the mobile food
vehicle which shows where the mobile food vehicle will be parked on the property,
location of any outside seating, customer parking as well as setback measurements
from the roadway.


A. No operator of a mobile food vehicle shall park, stand or move a vehicle and conduct
business within areas of the Township where the license holder has not been authorized to

B. Mobile food vehicles are permitted in all nonresidential zoning districts for a period of forty-five (45) days per calendar year. If the operator of the mobile food vehicle wishes to operate for more than forty-five (45) days in any one calendar year, a Site Plan Review must be requested by the operator. If all requirements are satisfied, the Site Plan may be approved by the Township Planning Commission. All typical applications, fees, and a complete Site Plan must be provided to the Township a minimum of thirty (30) days in advance of a scheduled Planning Commission meeting for review. An extension for any one event cannot exceed a period of seven (7) days.

C. Mobile food vehicles are permitted on individual lots occupied for residential uses in
all zoning districts for two nonconsecutive twenty-four-hour periods in any
calendar year.

D. The customer service area for mobile food vehicles shall be on the side of the vehicle
that faces a curb, lawn or sidewalk when parked to keep customers a safe distance from vehicles driving within the parking lot. Parking of customer vehicles must be on an approved parking lot in all commercial zoning districts. No food shall be prepared, sold, or displayed outside of the mobile food vehicle.

E. No mobile food vehicle vendor shall provide or allow any dining area within 10 feet
of a driveway or operating road or highway, including but not limited to tables and chairs, booths, stools, benches or stand-up counters.

F. Customers shall be provided with single-service articles, such as plastic utensils and
paper plates, and a waste container for disposal of all trash. All mobile food vehicle vendors shall offer a waste container for public use which the vendor shall empty at its own expense. All trash and
garbage originating from the operation of mobile food vehicles shall be collected and disposed of
off-site by the operators each day. Spills of food or food by-products shall be cleaned up by the
vendor, and no dumping of gray water on the streets is allowed. Vendors shall not dispose of
waste, trash or garbage into Township owned public containers.

G. No mobile food vehicle shall make or cause to be made any unreasonable or
excessive noise. The operation of all mobile food vehicles shall meet the Township noise ordinance,
including generators. No loud music, other high-decibel sounds, horns, or amplified
announcements are allowed.

H. Signage is only allowed when placed on mobile food vehicles. No separate
freestanding signs, banners or wind-wavers are permitted.

I. No flashing or blinking lights, or strobe lights are allowed on mobile food vehicles or
related signage when the vehicle is parked and engaged in serving customers. All exterior lights
with over 800 lumens shall contain opaque hood shields to direct illumination downward.

J. Mobile food vehicles, when parked on public streets, shall be parked in conformance
with all applicable parking restrictions and shall not hinder the lawful parking or operation of
other vehicles. The Township Manager shall have the right to restrict parking of such vehicles on any road if he or she deems it a safety hazard.

K. A mobile food vehicle shall not be parked on the street overnight or left unattended
and unsecured. Any mobile food vehicle found to be unattended shall be considered a public
safety hazard and may be impounded.

L. A vendor shall not operate a mobile food vehicle within 500 feet of any fair, festival,
special event or civic event that is licensed or sanctioned by the Township unless the vendor has
obtained written permission from the event sponsor.

M. The issuance of a mobile food vehicle license does not grant or entitle the vendor to
the exclusive use of any service route or parking space to the license holder.

N. A vendor shall not operate on private property without first obtaining written consent
to operate from the affected private property owner. The affected private property owner and or the vendor shall obtain approval and an issued license from the Township as a prerequisite to the vendors occupancy and use of the property.

O. Mobile food vehicle may use one external sign a maximum of 32 square feet in size as part of the license issued to them by the Township to operate. When extended, awnings for mobile food vehicles shall have a minimum clearance of seven feet between the ground level and the lowest point of
the awning or support structure.

P. Any power required for the mobile food vehicle located on a public way shall be self-contained, and a mobile food vehicle shall not use utilities drawn from the public right-of-way.
Mobile food vehicles on private property may use electrical power from the property being
occupied or an adjacent property, but only when the property owner provides written consent to
do so. All power sources must be self-contained. No power cable or equipment shall be
extended at or across any city street, alley or sidewalk.

Q. Mobile food vehicles shall not be parked within 150 feet of an existing brick-and mortar restaurant during the hours when such restaurant is open to the public for business.

R. All requests for a mobile food vehicle license shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Department, Fire Department, Police Department, the Department of Public Works and the Township Manager. No mobile food vehicle shall commence operation until approval of application has
been received and a Mobile Food Vehicle License issued to the vendor.


Mobile food vehicles on public property may operate between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. On private property within nonresidential zoning districts, a mobile food vehicle may only operate between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Other restrictions regarding hours of operation may be established by the planning commission. No mobile food vehicle may be left unattended for more than two hours and any mobile food vehicle not in operation shall be removed between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in residential areas. No mobile food vehicle may be parked more than seven (7) consecutive days on any
property at which time it must be removed for a period of twenty-four (24) hours before continuation of


A. Any license holder operating a mobile food vehicle in violation of any provision of
this article or any rules and regulations promulgated by the Township shall be responsible for a
municipal civil infraction, punishable by a civil fine. Each day of violation shall
constitute a separate and distinct offense.

B. Once a license has been issued, it may be revoked, suspended or not renewed by the
Township Code Enforcement Officer, Fire Inspector or Police Officer for failure to comply with the provisions of this article and any rules and regulations promulgated by the Township. The holder of a license shall have the right to appeal a revocation, suspension or non-renewal of a license to the Township Manager within 10 days after receiving notice by mail or in person of such revocation, suspension or non-renewal from the Township Code Enforcement Officer, Fire Inspector or Police Officer, and such appeal shall be made in writing and filing it with the Township Manager stating that an appeal from the decision of the Township is desired. The Manager shall review the facts of the revocation and determine if corrections have been made to re-establish the license for the remaining allowable time. Appeals to the Managers decision shall be taken to the Township Zoning Board of Appeals after all required fees and application has been made.



 Mobile Food Vehicle Application