The following information and regulations are designed to help individuals navigate the process of starting a mobile business unit operation. Whether you intend to operate a food truck, sell merchandise, or provide personal or professional services from a mobile business unit, you will need to meet these requirements.
Mobile business units serving food that wish to operate inside the City of Harrisonburg must receive approval from the Harrisonburg City Fire Department prior to operating. It is important for operators who will be serving food to also contact the Virginia Department of Health to receive a permit.
- All vehicles or trailers to be used as a mobile business unit must have valid registration with a state department of motor vehicles.
- Mobile business units serving food shall:
a. Meet minimum requirements - Mobile Food Truck and Enclosed Trailer Requirements [136KB]. Operators of mobile business units may also find these general safety guidelines helpful - NFPA Fact Sheet: Food Truck Safety [360KB].
b. Be inspected by the Harrisonburg Fire Department (HFD) prior to beginning operations. Contact the HFD Deputy Fire Marshall at 540-432-7703 for inspection requirements and to schedule an inspection. Mobile business units not serving food do not require this inspection.
Business License Requirement
- Mobile business units are required to have a valid business license with the City of Harrisonburg. Business License Information. Questions can be directed to the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at 540-432-7704.
- Mobile business units cannot operate in the public right-of-way unless City Council has approved a street closure in connection with a special event. Additional authorization for special events will be needed by the event manager for these types of events.
- Mobile business units must operate on private property where the underlying zoning allows the sale of food, other goods, or personal or professional services. Mobile business unit operators must also receive permission from the property owner of any property on which they plan to operate. Zoning information, including zoning regulations and a zoning map. Questions can be directed to the Planning and Zoning Division at the Department of Community Development at 540-432-7700.
- Accompanying structures or tents may be set up in conjunction with a mobile business unit. However, this may necessitate the mobile business unit owner to provide bathroom facilities and off-street parking. Questions about bathroom facilities can be directed to the Building Inspections Division and questions about off-street parking can be directed to the Planning and Zoning Division at the Department of Planning & Community Development at 540-432-7700.
- Mobile business units and their associated tables, structures, or tents must not interfere with the public right-of-way or with the entrances or exits of any property, including sight distance requirements. Mobile business units shall not park or operate within Fire Lanes. Mandatory parking spaces for the principal use of the site cannot be occupied by mobile business units.
- Mobile business units and their associated tables, structures, or tents located on a parcel abutting a residentially zoned property shall meet the Zoning Ordinance principal building setbacks from the property line abutting the residential zoning classification. Zoning information, including zoning regulations and a zoning map. Questions can be directed to the Zoning Division at the Department of Community Development at 540-432-7700.
- If you desire to hook up your mobile business unit to public water or sanitary sewer, please contact the Harrisonburg City Public Utilities Department for approval at 540-434-9959.
- Liquid wastes shall be disposed of properly into a sanitary sewer system and never discharged onto the ground. Please contact Harrisonburg City Public Utilities Department with questions about disposal into sanitary sewer systems. Please be aware that discharging liquid wastes onto the ground (including into a storm drain, onto a stream bank, or into the street) is a violation of Harrisonburg City Code Sec 7-6-5 and will result in a Notice of Violation and/or penalties. Please contact Harrisonburg Public Works at 540-434-5928 for information about stormwater regulations.
- It is the responsibility of all mobile business unit operators to dispose of their solid waste and trash properly. For more information, please contact the Department of Public Works at 540-434-5928.
- If you intend to serve food, you must receive a food service operation permit from the Virginia Department of Health. To receive more information or schedule an inspection, please call the Rockingham Harrisonburg Health Department at 540-574-5200.