Mobile Food Pilot Program
Nashville and Davidson County recognizes that mobile food vending promotes public interest by contributing to a dynamic environment. Nashville desires to be a city that employs a simple program that allows mobile food vendors while minimizing negative impacts to and ensuring the safety of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

For purposes of this pilot, a mobile food vending unit is a person, corporation, company, or business that sells food and beverages from the roadway using a licensed vehicle capable of movement or from a licensed trailer pulled behind a motor vehicle.

Mobile Food Vendor units must be permanently enclosed units and have a service window. All other mobile food cart vendors should contact the County Clerk Office regarding permitting and operation regulations. Contact 615-862-6254

A test phase beginning April 2012 will provide Nashville and Davidson County evaluative data for a successful mobile food vendor program. The program will initially be operated under a temporary permit issued by the Metro Public Works Permit Office for two specified zones, the downtown core (DTC) shown below and outside the DTC. Note, all operations within the limits of the satellite cities require authorization from the local jurisdiction.
The test phase will:
  • Provide the city with evaluative data and feedback in preparation for any legislation.
  • Allow the flexibility to adjust operations for any unexpected consequences and ensure the program is operating as expected.
  • Acquaint the public with the program.
  • Allow the city to estimate cost and staffing needs.
Program Guidelines
  • Obtain necessary inspections and permits required by Metro Government to operate a mobile food truck in Davidson County (Codes, Solid Waste, Fire, Health, County Clerk’s Office, etc.).
  • Apply for and obtain a Mobile Food Vendor Permit from Metro Public Works Permit Office. This permit is required in order to vend inside or outside of the right of way in Davidson County, is non-transferrable, and is required for each mobile food vending unit.
  • Post Mobile Food Vendor Permit in the window or display prominently on the vehicle. This permit shall be visible to Public Works inspectors. Post all other department permits and/or licenses as required by that department.
  • A PUBLIC WORKS MFV permit allows travel on Metro roads and use of designated MFV signed zones in the public Right of Way in the DTC subject to approval of and compliance with all Metro Government departments' regulations.
  • During the pilot program, a check for $55 application fee is required in downtown, DTC area, for a lane closure at signed Mobile Food Vendor locations for a permit valid in Davidson County until the pilot program ends.
Placement and operation of mobile food vending units:
  • Placement of devices related to mobile vending shall not obstruct or impede the pedestrian path of travel or traffic flow. Mobile vending placement must adhere to Federal, State, and Local regulations and policies. Mobile vending from on- street parking spaces, whether marked or unmarked, and in the signed MFV zones in the DTC shall not reduce the clear pedestrian path of travel to less than six (6) feet. This includes all related components of the mobile vending
  • Mobile food vending must follow all existing codes and ordinances and shall be prohibited at the following locations:
    • Within 150 feet of a building in which a full-service restaurant or fast-food restaurant is located and operating, as defined in Section 17.04.040 of the Metropolitan Code, unless approval is obtained in writing from the owner of the business.
    • Within 20 feet of any structure built of combustible construction and within 10 feet of any structure built of non-combustible construction.
    • Within 15 feet of any fire hydrant, fire escape, bus stop, any intersection curb radius return (the point of intersection of the street curb line and the curb radius), any doorway or driveway or other main entrance of any building, and of any emergency or fire exits.
    • Within a city block of a school zone during regular school hours.
    • Mobile vending is prohibited in improved public alleys.
    All measured distances and distance requirements addressed in these Regulations shall be distances measured in a straight line from the nearest edge of the mobile vending unit to the nearest edge of the object from which the mobile vending unit is to be distant.
  • Mobile vending in marked parking spaces shall not exceed the area allowed by the markings.
  • Mobile vending must follow rules and regulations regarding utilization of that parking space, including time limits. Mobile Vendors shall be parked with right side of unit facing curb, and shall be placed a maximum of 18 inches from curb face or edge of pavement. On one-way streets parking with the left side of vehicle facing curb is permitted in the direction of traffic flow.
  • Appropriate purchase of parking time at parking meters outside of the DTC is required.
  • Mobile vending shall not impede access to the entrance or driveway of any adjacent building.
  • Mobile vending shall not obstruct sight distance for drivers.
  • Mobile vending shall not use stakes, rods, or any method of support that is required to be drilled, driven, or otherwise fixed, in asphalt pavement, curbs, sidewalks or buildings.
  • The use, marking, or designation of mobile vending spaces in no way grants any mobile vendor a vested right or property interest in any specific space, and the marked spaces may be removed if it is determined to be in the interest of public health, safety and welfare. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be reserved.
  • No mobile food truck shall provide or allow any dining area, including but not limited to tables, chairs, booths, bar stools, benches and standup counters, unless a proposal for such seating arrangement is submitted with the permit application and approved.
  • Mobile vendors shall obey all applicable laws prohibiting excess noise or other nuisance.
  • The program is permitting food and beverage sales only.
  • Permitted operations will be inspected periodically to ensure program compliance.
  • All sites out of the right of way require documentation of permission from the property owner with a copy of such permission to be submitted to the Public Works Permit Office.
  • Mobile vendors seeking to vend in a park should contact the Metro Parks & Recreation Department at (615) 862-8400.
Hours of Operation
No vending operations shall take place in the right-of-way between the hours of 3:30a.m. and 6:00a.m unless otherwise posted.

Waste and Recycling
Mobile vending operators must supply, in a prominent location, trash and recycling containers sufficient in size to collect all waste and recyclables generated by customers and staff of the mobile vending operation. All trash and debris generated by customers and staff shall be collected by the mobile vendor and deposited in their trash or recycle container and removed from the site by the mobile vendor.

Additional Guidelines for Downtown Core (DTC)

During the test phase, the Downtown Mobile Food Program will be modified to incorporate special circumstances unique to the downtown area. Initially vending in the right of way will only be permitted in specific zones identified by temporary signage.

All operations within the DTC will follow standard procedure to vend food in the county. After obtaining a Mobile Food Vendor Permit from the Public Works Permit Office, permitted mobile food vendors will be allowed to vend in the designated zones (see table below) at posted times only.

Zones were selected based on the following criteria:
  • Safety of motoring and pedestrian traffic.
  • Convenience for and to downtown workers, visitors and residents.
  • Proximity to areas such as parks and streetscape elements.
  • Use of existing loading zones and parking areas to reduce parking impacts to vehicular traffic.
Zones identified with signage clearly defining the limits of the space and times of operation are the only legal places to operate during the test phase. Posted signs encouraging feedback or suggestions for the program will be located at each site. The following guidelines apply:
  • Spaces in the downtown zone will be available to all permitted mobile food trucks on a first come first serve basis with no advance parking or reservations allowed.
  • Mobile food trucks are not allowed in mobile food truck zones outside of posted times.
  • Vehicle must park in the same direction as traffic.
  • Mobile food trucks participating in the downtown trial program will not fund parking meters during the operating hours of the zone.
  • During a special event, permission from the event coordinator is required to vend inside the event footprint; no others will be allowed to set up. A one-block buffer around events will also be enforced for event pedestrian and vehicular safety.
  • If an area is closed for an emergency or other permitted activity, no vendors will be allowed to set up. Areas will be monitored for compliance and any violations could result in a permit being suspended or revoked based on adherence to rules and regulation.
  • All areas selected for the test phase will be evaluated and could be expanded or removed based upon evaluative information received.
The below table provides a listing of location and sizes of each parking zone. Notification of changes to zones will be done via e-mail and posted at Metro Public Works web site.

2nd Ave North (east side)
James Robertson Pkwy
Gay St
Deaderick (north side)
3rd Ave North
4th Ave North
Capitol Blvd (east side)
Church St
Union St
James Robertson Parkway
4th Ave North
3rd Ave North
No Parking
1st Ave North at Ft. Nashboro(east side)
Church St
1st Ave South (east side)
Demonbreun St
11th Ave S
Laurel St
Pine St
7th Ave S (east & west side)
Charlotte Ave
Union St
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