- Food Trucks are any readily movable mobile food service establishment, to include vehicles that are self-propelled, pushed or pulled to a specific location.
- Article 2-510 of the Zoning Ordinance regulates the sale of food from vending trucks on private property.
- Chapter 82-1-30 of the Fairfax County Code regulates the sale of food from vending trucks on VDOT roadways.
Permits and Licenses
Before vending in Fairfax County, food truck operators must first obtain the necessary permits and licenses. The following steps should be followed to ensure that the business has complied with all applicable regulations before operating in Fairfax County.
Step 1: Obtain a Health Department Food Establishment Permit
ALL food trucks must obtain a Food Establishment Permit from the Fairfax County Health Department. Applications are accepted by mail or in person at 10777 Main Street, Suite 111, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Applications and additional information are available online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/permits/mobile-food-unit.
The Food Safety Section requires the following to apply for a Food Establishment Permit for a food truck:
- Completed Food Establishment Permit application;
- Plans, equipment specifications, and menus for the food truck;
- Current list of all individuals who will work on the food truck and proof of a Certified Food Manager Card for each person;
- Inspection of food truck (mobile food unit) scheduled or completed; and
- Application fee of $80.
Note: The Health Department also issues the Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Permit for Mobile Food Vending (LUP-MFV). For more information, refer to Step 2 below.
Step 2: Locating Your Business
Food trucks are permitted to sell food in three different types of locations within Fairfax County. Permitting requirements and responsible agencies will differ based on the type of location in which you plan to operate.
Designated Right of Way Locations:
The Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has issued a Land Use Permit for Mobile Food Vending (LUP-MFV) to Fairfax County that allows mobile food vending in designated right-of-way locations. The Fairfax County Health Department has established a process for the owner/operator of a mobile food unit to operate in these locations. You may view a list of approved designated right-of-way locations and apply for a permit by filling out a Mobile Food Vending Zone Agreement.
Private Commercially Owned Property:
Food trucks may park on and vend from private property (office parks, shopping centers, etc.) only when both the property owner and the food truck have obtained permits from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, Zoning Administration Division. The Zoning Administration Division is located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 807, Fairfax, Virginia 22035, 703-324-1314. Both permit application forms are available below:
- Food Truck Location Permit (Issued to private property owner or the owner's authorized agent)
- Food trucks may operate only from commercial or industrial-zoned property, provided the property owner or authorized agent has first obtained a Food Truck Location Permit. Food Truck Location Permits may be issued to properties with a principal use consisting of a minimum of 25,000 square feet of gross floor area or on a construction site with an active building permit and on-going construction activity. The permit fee is $100. (filing fee is non-refundable)
- Food Truck Operation Permit (Issued to food truck owner or operator)
- Food truck operators are required to obtain an annual Food Truck Permit. Applicant must submit the written consent of the private property owner or the owner's authorized agent authorizing the food truck to be located on their approved food truck location, and a copy of the property owner's food truck location permit. The permit fee is $100. (filing fee is non-refundable)
Fairfax County Parks:
Food trucks may vend in select Fairfax County parks provided that the vendor obtains a Mobile Food Vendor Permit from the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority allows selected food trucks to work in designated Fairfax County parks provided the truck has been issued a Mobile Food Vendor Permit. To apply, contact the Park Authority, Park Services Division - Mobile Food Vending located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 927, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. Park vending locations, the application form and additional details on the permitting process can be found online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/mobile-vending. Permits are awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants are not guaranteed that they will be awarded a permit.
The Park Authority requires the following to apply for a Mobile Food Vendor Permit:
- Food Establishment Permit from the Health Department,
- Business, Professional and Occupational License, if the food truck is parked for more than thirty (30) consecutive days at a Fairfax County park, or if it has a physical location in the county, and is grossing more than $10,000 per year in receipts.
- $150 application fee is due for each park requested.
Step 3: Obtain a Solicitors License
A solicitor's license is required for each food truck employee who interacts with the customers. Food truck employees can obtain a Solicitors License from the Department of Cable and Consumer Services, Regulation and Licensing Branch located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 127, Fairfax, Virginia 22035.
The Regulation and Licensing Branch requires the following from food truck employees to apply for a solicitor's license:
- Completed application;
- Two forms of valid identification, including Proof of US citizenship, Limited Permanent Resident or Employment Authorization Card (when applicant was born outside of the US);
- Fairfax County Food Establishment Permit from the Health Department;
- Operating Permit (based upon where you plan to operate your business):
- Food Truck Permit from the Department of Planning and Zoning showing approval of vending location(s) in the county; OR
- Fairfax County Park Authority Mobile Food Vendor Permit; OR
- Current Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Permit for Mobile Food Vending (LUP-MFV)
- Application fee of $35.
Rules and Regulations
- Food truck shall be in conformance with proffered conditions, development plans, special permits, or special exception approvals. If any precludes or further regulates the presence of a food truck, this will stand in lieu of the following:
- Food trucks are a permitted accessory use with permission from the Department of Planning and Zoning in industrial or commercial districts, in the commercial areas of P-districts, and on construction sites with an active building permit and on-going construction activity.
- Food trucks shall only be permitted in conjunction with a principal use consisting of a minimum of 25,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area or on a construction site with an active building permit AND on-going construction activity.
- Food trucks shall operate for a maximum of four (4) hours in any one (1) day at any one (1) location, including set-up and break-down.
- A maximum of three (3) food trucks shall be permitted at any one (1) location at the same time, provided that additional food trucks may be permitted in conjunction with temporary special permits or other special events regulated by any proffered condition, development condition, special permit or special exception.
- Food trucks shall not be located in any fire lane, travel lane, entrance/exit or any required parking space.
- Food trucks shall be located on a level, paved, or gravel surface with safe pedestrian access. The vicinity around the food truck shall be kept clean and free of debris. Trash receptacles shall be provided.
- Food Vending Vehicles are prohibited from being stored in any R-district when not in use and will constitute a violation of the Zoning Ordinance if they are found to be parked on these residential lots.