PLEASE NOTE: As of September 2019, Food Trucks will be referred to as "Mobile Food Units" per regulations set down by the Virginia General Assembly. The official definition of a mobile food unit is, " a restaurant that is mounted on wheels and readily movable from place to place by an internal engine or that is towed from place to place by a motor vehicle. Mobile food unit shall not include vending carts or other conveyances which are designed to be moved by either human or animal power."
The City of Williamsburg has allowed mobile food units for several years, but with limited access. In January 2019, Williamsburg City Council, upon recommendation from the Food Truck Work Group amended its food truck policy. The new policy greatly expands permitted areas within the City limits. This provides for greater opportunities for mobile food unit owners/operators in the City.
Mobile food units are a welcomed addition to an already exciting business and tourism destination but before you smoke your brisket, filet your fish, or dice your onions, mobile food unit owners/operators should familiarize themselves with the following:
- City Code – Mobile Food Unit
- Mobile Food Unit Application
- Business License
- Fire Department Check List
- Private Property Mobile Food Unit Application
- B-3 Midtown & B-4 Capitol Landing Road Maps
- LB-1 and B-1 Downtown Map
- ED & ED-2 Maps
- MS Map
Below are two types of permits to allow mobile food units in the City.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Mobile food units are allowed at special events when invited to do so by the special event host on City owned property or rights-of-ways. The host is responsible for obtaining a special event permit from the City Manager’s Office. The host must list on the permit application the location, name of the mobile food unit, name of the business (if different), name of the mobile food unit operator(s), and contact information. Mobile food units are not allowed in the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area CW, except as permitted by a special event and located on a City street.PRIVATE PROPERTY: Below are Highlights of the City’s mobile food unit policy on private property:
- COMMERCIAL AREAS: Mobile food units are allowed in the following zoning districts: LB-1 (Downtown), B-1 (Downtown), B-3* (Midtown), B-4 (Capitol Landing Road), ED* (Riverside), ED-2 (High Street) and 100 Visitor Center Drive (MS). Maps of the designated areas are listed above.
- There is a 100-foot restaurant buffer for LB-1 and B-1 zoning districts.
- RESIDENTIAL AREAS: Mobile food units are allowed on residential property up to two times a year.
- The criteria for operating a mobile food unit includes, but is not limited to, the following: a valid driver’s license (for each driver), valid City business license, valid health permit, a copy of an approved inspection from the Williamsburg Fire Department (WFD), written permission from the property owner, and current vehicle registration and insurance. WFD must inspect the mobile food unit each day it is in operation in the City.
- The zoning administrator may revoke the permit at any time for failure of the permit holder to comply with the requirements and to correct such noncompliance within the timeframe specified in a notice of violation. Notice of revocation shall be made in writing to the permit holder. The revocation decision can be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
For more information contact the following:
Business License - Commissioner of the Revenue's Office (757) 220-6150
Special Event Permit - City Manager's Office (757) 220-6100
Private Property Mobile Food Unit Application - Planning Department (757) 220-6130
Fire Inspections - Williamsburg Fire Department (757) 220-6220