Regulations for food trucks to operate in the Snyderville Basin currently on the table
Summit County may soon open the door for food truck vendors to operate in the Snyderville Basin.
The Snyderville Basin’s Development Code doesn’t mention food trucks, which has prevented vendors from obtaining a permit to operate. But, county staffers recently created regulations to allow for the operation of food trucks and mobile food courts. The Basin Planning Commission is expected to review the amendments on Tuesday during a public hearing at the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction.
Staffers approached the planning panel about the idea in the fall, with most of the commissioners supporting the allowance of food trucks. Several mentioned already seeing vendors at neighborhood block parties and business gatherings. The code already allowed vendors to operate at the Tanger Outlets and the Canyons Specially Planned Area. But, staff said any vendors who operated at private events did not likely obtain a permit.
The discussion was spurred by a measure Utah lawmakers approved during the 2017 legislative session that modified how food trucks are regulated. Additional modifications that further restricted local governments from regulating the industry were made to the measure during the 2018 session. 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 area where they attempted to operate. Now, a brick-and-mortar establishment is only required in the location where a primary permit is issued. However, to operate beyond their main city or county of operation, vendors must still obtain a secondary permit in those jurisdictions.
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. They would be prohibited in residential zones, unless the food trucks are part of a special event. The amendments also require the food trucks to be located on private property.
“Basically, anywhere where a restaurant can operate,” said Ray Milliner, a county planner. “State law restricts political subdivisions’ ability to regulate food trucks through land use or zoning ordinances, which means we can’t prohibit it on private property.”
The food trucks’ hours of operation would be restricted to 12 hours within a 24-hour period. Other restrictions include prohibiting the food trucks from creating a traffic hazard or blocking driveways, and preventing more than 10 food trucks in a particular area at a time. The food trucks and food courts would still require approval by the Health Department and Park City Fire Department. But, neither entity has authority over where the food trucks are able to operate.
“We are simply worried and concerned about the food handling,” Phil Bondurant, environmental health scientist, said. “We support whatever the zoning and planning feels they need to do to get a hold and ahead of this situation.”
Operators are only required to obtain a food truck permit in their primary location, which is determined by the home address of the applicant. To operate beyond their primary city or county of operation, vendors must still obtain a secondary permit in those jurisdictions at a reduced cost.
Vendors with a permit based on their primary location are subject to two health inspections a year, Bondurant said. Vendors with a secondary permit, however, could be susceptible to an additional inspection.
“It has increased compliance because everywhere they go, they will have inspections if they have permits in multiple locations,” Bondurant said. “Even if a food truck comes up here on private property, it isstill subject to the health inspection.”
The number of requests the county has received from vendors to operate food trucks has significantly increased since the Legislature expanded the law, Bondurant said.
“The Sundance Film Festival was a big one with a lot of requests,” he said. “Previously, they had to get a full permit in each location and, in some instances, it just wasn’t financially responsible to come up to Summit County and get another. But, now people are tapping into this and coming over on a regular basis from the Salt Lake Valley.”
Bondurant was unsure whether the new regulations and allowance of the mobile vendors will increase the presence of food trucks in the Basin. But, he said, it creates a transparent process so vendors know how and where they can operate.
“We have struggled with trucks coming up and saying they want a secondary permit and then later finding out they couldn’t operate because of planning and zoning,” he said. “Having something specific is a benefit to our community and the food truck community.”
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.