Solvang Planning Commission recommends new rules to fight food trucks | New

The following article was published on June 8, 2022 in the Santa Maria Sun – Volume 23, Number 15 [ Submit a Story ]

The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 23, Number 15

Solvang planning commission recommends new rules to fight food trucks

By Caleb Wiseblood

Food trucks have become a fixture across the county, stopping at events and festivals year-round, but Solvang has no clear ordinance governing exactly where and when food trucks can and cannot. function. Soon June 6the city Urban planning commission supported the adoption of a set of rules for in-vehicle food providers.

Solvang’s planning commissioners have unanimously approved city staff’s proposal for a food truck ordinance, and it will move to the Solvang City Council for final approval.

MOBILE ORDER
A proposed Food Truck Ordinance, recommended by the Solvang Planning Commission, is being reviewed by the Solvang City Council for final approval. Solvang’s current municipal code does not include a subsection directly dealing with food truck operations.
FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

The proposed ordinance would prohibit food trucks from operating on private property in all areas of the city, including residential areas, without a special event permit. Before the planning commissioners voted, they changed a detail of the ordinance, as some commissioners felt the original proposal was not strict enough.

The original draft protocol would have allowed food trucks to operate if “such use is permitted under a minor conditional use permit for parking lot sales,” according to the staff report.

“Is a driveway considered parking?” Planning Commissioner Jack Williams asked city staff at the June 6 meeting.

“If it’s on private property, yes,” replied planning consultant Laurie Tamura.

This clarification led Planning Commissioner Aaron Petersen to say it would be too easy for someone to get a weekly or monthly permit to operate a food truck in their driveway or lawn at a garage sale. , which Williams said would be problematic.

The five planning commissioners agreed to omit the “parking sales” section from the proposal. The updated bylaw forwarded to City Council will only allow food trucks to operate on private property with a special event permit.

Although no ordinance in Solvang’s current code directly addresses food truck operations on private property, use is already “arguably prohibited,” according to the staff report, “because the sale of food trucks mobile catering is not an expressly permitted use on private property in any area of ​​the city.”

One of the reasons the Planning Commission is recommending the creation of a direct protocol is to prevent certain provisions of the current code from being “broadly interpreted,” the staff report says.

“For example, commercial districts allow “outdoor barbecues” if they are associated with food use. It would be a stretch to claim that this also allows for something other than a barbecue truck, but the claim could be made,” the report states. “If the City intends to prohibit its use, a specific article of the municipal code to this effect would avoid any confusion.

City staff noted that there were not many such ordinances to draw on Solvang’s rules.

“The city attorney’s office’s limited review of municipal code limitations in other cities did not find an absolute prohibition on this type of use. [on private property]. On the contrary, most cities do not regulate food trucks on private property,” the staff report states. “Those that tend to range from making use permitted in a limited area, to prohibiting use except for events that are permitted under a temporary use permit or event permit special.

“This latter type of bylaw would allow the city to allow food trucks onto private property for a limited time in appropriate circumstances, such as a special event, but not a regular event.”

The Solvang Planning Commission eventually agreed 5-0 to recommend the proposed food truck ordinance to city council.

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