The only food truck licensed in the town is Baguettaboutit, which serves sausages wrapped in French bread.
Nate Adams , owner of Chirba Chirba and a UNC alumnus, said operators’ main concern about operating off-campus is the lack of space to park their trucks.
“The biggest factor for us is the lack of a developed location,” he said. “Due to the restrictions there are really only two spots in the town, and the visibility of those spots isn’t very good.”
Matt Sullivan, interim director of planning and sustainability for the town, said this is a sentiment shared by many food truck operators attempting to find a location in Chapel Hill.
Sullivan said while trucks are allowed to park at any private property, the property owner must have a zoning permit specifically for the truck.
“It can be hard to find and get an agreement with a property owner to have a place to park the trucks, which has become a deterrent for many owners,” said Sullivan.
The town’s food truck fee was reduced from $600 to $200 last year after truck operators expressed concern about the town’s , but Chapel Hill has seen no new applications from food trucks.
That red tape does not exist for food trucks attempting to get on campus.
Randy Young , a spokesman for UNC Department of Public Safety, said the department doesn’t regulate the trucks heavily.
“We are notified of their location and advise them on where to park. Other than that we’re not really involved with it,” Young said.
Coupled with the location difficulties, Adams said parking on campus still makes more sense from a cost standpoint.
“The price to be on campus works better for our business model,” Adams said. “It fits with the risks of us expanding into a new market.”
Adams said it is a flat fee of $50 for every trip to campus.
To operate in Chapel Hill, trucks must pay the $200 fee an nually and a $25 for business license. The property owner must pay a $118 fee for the zoning compliance permit .
Adams said he pays $50 for a business license and $10 for a mobile food license in Durham and typical municipal fees are $25-50 . He said the truck is currently trying to move into Hillsborough and Greensboro.
Sullivan said the fees are to cover the cost of having the trucks in the town.
“The fee is simply a regulatory fee to cover costs such as inspections. The town is not trying to make any revenue off the fees,” he said.
Kay Pearlstein , senior planner for the Town of Chapel Hill, said while there have been no new applications, there have been a few inquiries.
Adams said that he hasn’t ruled out moving Chirba Chirba into Chapel Hill.
“If a good spot opened up, I would consider it, if it made sense for the business.”