Full Policy Name:
Topics: Land Use Regulation, Land Use and Planning
Policy type: Ordinance
Year: 2014

The City of Ypsilanti amended its zoning ordinance to allow for more food vending and entrepreneurial opportunities and to increase food access. The ordinance permits food concessions sales as temporary uses in primarily commercial, business, or recreational zoning districts. In addition to applying for a temporary use permits, food concession sales vendors must provide evidence of approvals from the Washtenaw County Public Health Department and/or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) for concession sales and a transient merchant license or a special peddler’s license from the Office of the City Clerk, as applicable. Additionally, food concessions sales vendors must adhere to other provisions regarding hours of operation, sanitation, sound, outdoor cooking, and location designations. Certain concessions sales may be allowed as a principal or accessory use under approval through the Special Land Use approval process or by a city planner. The ordinance does not apply to mobile vendors who move around frequently and remain stationed at a single location for no more than 30 minutes.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies:

While academic research demonstrating the economic impacts of mobile food vending is limited, a report from a non-profit organization in Los Angeles found that food vendors contributed substantially to the local economy through sales generated, jobs created, and food sourcing from neighborhood stores (Yen Liu, Burns, & Flaming 2015). Ypsilanti’s zoning ordinance may also allow mobile vendors to potentially contribute to the local food economy by creating such multiplier effects.

Scale of Governance: City
Summary Link: URL
Policy Text Link: URL
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority: Priority 1 - Increase healthy food access & consumption, Priority 6 - Use policy & planning to increase food access

Yen Liu, Y., Burns, P., & Flaming, D. (2015). Sidewalk Stimulus: Economic and Geographic Impact of Los Angeles Street Vendors. Economic Roundtable: Los Angeles, California. Retrieved on November 8, 2016 from LINK.