Snyderville Basin planning panel recommends ordinance to allow food trucks
Food truck courts are one stop closer to becoming a reality in the Snyderville Basin now that a planning panel has recommended an ordinance to allow them.
Planning Commissioners voiced their support of allowing food trucks at a meeting earlier this month when they unanimously agreed to recommend creating a new ordinance to regulate the use. Commissioner Ryan Dickey was not present.
The Snyderville Basin’s Development Code doesn’t mention food trucks, which has prevented vendors from obtaining permits to operate. However, the code includes exceptions for vendors to operate at the Tanger Outlets and the Canyons Specially Planned Area.
County staffers created new regulations to allow for the operation of food trucks and mobile food courts after Utah lawmakers approved a measure during the 2018 legislative session that reduced local governments’ ability to regulate the industry. The changes have essentially made it easier for vendors to obtain permits to operate in various communities. Planner Ray Milliner said vendors began approaching the county about operating in the area.
“We thought it was a good time to get something in our ordinance,” he said.
Planning Commissioners and staffers held several meetings, including hearings, to discuss the parameters of a potential ordinance. Commission Chair Bea Peck said they spent time reviewing similar ordinances that are in place around the Salt Lake Valley.
“We tried to anticipate what issues there might be,” she said.
The recommended ordinance suggests allowing mobile food businesses to operate on private property, but prohibits them in residential zones except when part of a special event or as part of a private party or function. Food trucks would not be allowed to park in a location for more than 12 hours within a 24-hour period. But, vendors would be allowed to have outdoor seating and live music as long as it adheres to the Summit County noise control ordinance.
Vendors would be required to obtain a conditional-use permit and would still be subject to inspection by the Summit County Health Department.
Dickey, who was not at the most recent meeting but has participated in previous discussions about a potential ordinance, said food trucks are an interesting addition to the food scene in the Basin.
“There can be this sense that food trucks compete with restaurants, I think what you see is in reality they are really complimentary,” he said. “They provide a way for people without the capital to start a food business and establish a restaurant to operate. They usually later do start a restaurant and they end up being local people. I think they are fun to allow.”
Some of the concerns that the Planning Commission had were about noise, potential locations and the number of food trucks that would be allowed to gather.
“There weren’t any major concerns outside of those few,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we had the ability to limit the noise and where the trucks would be placed. We didn’t want them in residential areas. We also had a lot of discussion about mobile food courts and we didn’t want that to get out of hand.”
Planning Commissioners and the county did not receive much feedback about the proposed ordinance, with few comments being made at the public hearings. Milliner said most of the feedback he heard from the community was in support of creating a path for mobile food businesses to be allowed.
The Summit County Council will now review the recommended ordinance before making a final decision. The matter is expected to go before the Council sometime in August. Public input will likely be accepted at that time.
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