Food trucks may soon be rolling into the Basin
November 23, 2017
Food trucks may be soon rolling into the Snyderville Basin if planning commissioners decide to develop a policy to regulate the businesses within Summit County.
Earlier this month, county staffers approached the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission about the idea of allowing mobile food trucks and food truck courts to operate in the Basin. The discussion was spurred by a measure Utah lawmakers approved during the 2017 Legislative Session that resulted in modifications to how food trucks are regulated. The changes have essentially made it easier for vendors to obtain permits to operate in various communities.
Previously, the Summit County Health Department only issued permits to vendors with a licensed kitchen in each jurisdiction. Now, a brick-and-mortar establishment is only required in the primary location. However, to operate beyond their primary city or county of operation, vendors must still obtain a secondary permit in those jurisdictions.
"It seems like whether we like it or not, we need to develop a policy because of the new state statute," said Ryan Dickey, a planning commissioner.
Staffers are proposing regulations to deal with food trucks and food courts, identified in a planning department staff report as a gathering of two or more food trucks in the same location.
“It seems like whether we like it or not, we need to develop a policy because of the new state statute,” said Ryan Dickey, a Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner
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The change in legislation has prompted a number of food truck operators to approach the county for a business license, according to a planning department staff report. The business licenses were not issued because the county's Land Use Chart does not permit food trucks. The report states that there are two exceptions: the Tanger Outlet Development
Agreement allows one truck to be parked in the mall's central parking area, and the Canyons Specially Planned Area allows for food trucks in certain instances.
The new language staff is proposing would allow food trucks in the following zones: service commercial, resort center, community commercial, town center and neighborhood commercial zones. The report states that all activity associated with mobile food businesses would be temporary, restricting operators to no more than 12 hours in an individual location.
Some of the restrictions that would be imposed include not allowing parking on a landscaped area, requiring that trucks do not block driveways of existing buildings or occupy parking stalls, and ensuring vendors adhere to all other county ordinances.
"The idea on that was we didn't want them taking up a required space or a space that is necessary for a business," said Ray Milliner, a county planner. "The idea behind having no less than two trucks for a mobile food court was because I wouldn't want a one-truck food court. It allows a guy a chance to create a restaurant."
In order to occupy space on a property, the food truck operator would need to seek permission of the land owner or lease the property, Milliner said.
"This regulation would allow them in our commercial zones, but they are still prohibited in residential neighborhoods," he said.
The food trucks and food courts would still require approval by the Health Department and Park City Fire Department.
Most of the planning commissioners were supportive of the idea of allowing food trucks in the Basin. Thomas Cooke and Canice Harte went as far as to suggest the county consider allowing them at private residences or for neighborhood block parties.
Commissioner Bea Peck also voiced her support. She added, "I like that if you are going to have a food court you have to meet the individual requirements and then it is up to the operator."
Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association, said the discussion regarding the impact of food trucks on area restaurants has not come up yet. She said it would depend on how the state requirements affect Park City, in particular. She added that any regulations the Planning Commission approves won't necessarily apply to Park City-area restaurants.
"Obviously, we will keep our fingers on the pulse of this one because we do have members in Redstone," she added. "But, the majority of members are within city limits. In general, I think there are pros and cons to allowing food trucks."
Milliner said any decision regarding the proposed regulations would need to be made by the County Council. He said the process would include conversations with area restaurant owners and the public in the form of a hearing.
To view the staff report and proposed guidelines for regulating food trucks and food courts go to this webpage.