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Summit County Council Votes To Allow Food Trucks In Snyderville Basin

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Summit County
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The Summit County Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to amend the Snyderville Code to allow mobile food trucks and food courts.

Council member also said they don’t have much ability to regulate the trucks, under the state legislation that paved the way for the food outlets.

They heard that the upcoming legislature may enact even more changes that are friendly to the industry.

Council members have said previously that they’re bound by state legislation which eased the amount of red tape that trucks have to go through to operate in multiple jurisdictions.

Council chair Kim Carson has pointed out that under the new law, a truck operation doesn’t have to get a basic license, pay fees or taxes in every county, but just has to do that in a “home county.”

The county’s Environmental Health Director, Phil Bondurant was asked if they can still inspect food trucks that may be based in another county.

“The limitations on the permitting are only for business licensing.” Bondurant explained, “Currently a food truck, let’s call it a commissary kitchen, they’re home base is in Salt Lake. When they come to Summit County, they have to have a secondary permit, which allows us the opportunity to inspect them once per year. Then they’re inspected twice in their home jurisdiction. If the truck is based out of Salt Lake and they go to Davis County, and Utah County and then Wasatch County and Summit County they’re getting inspections in all those jurisdictions as it stands now. The fee of those permits was set in stone by the health officers about a year ago. We are giving inspection to them, it does give us the authority to close them, to remove them from our county if they’re unsanitary or they present a public health risk.”

Bondurant said, though, that the legislature may enact further modifications for the trucks.

“Originally started out just as a business licensing component and now it’s going to move towards the sanitation side of it where they would just be inspected in their home county and we wouldn’t have any authority in our county as a secondary to inspect them or to do any type of follow up,” Bondurant replied to a council members question if any county gave the license that Summit County would have to honor that,  “If the new language is being considered is passed then yeah we would be in that position.”

Bondurant said they would still be able to respond to specific complaints, although their activities would be reactive.

“To my understanding even if they change the rule the way it’s currently written we still maintain our authority as a public health agency.” Bondurant continued, “So, if there’s a taco truck or a hamburger truck that’s discharging waste water out onto the ground, we have the authority to go in and cease and desist to close them and remove them. If the new rule passes, we don’t have the authority to go and just do an inspection of sanitation. Essentially it goes from being proactive public health to reactive public health which has been proven time and time again to be the cause of food borne illness outbreaks and a number of other things. We’re actually going backwards.”

Another concern is how the food trucks will impact brick and mortar businesses. Council member Roger Armstrong posed a question to staff planner Ray Milliner.

“One of the surprises to me in the state legislation is that you can’t put limitations around proximity to brick and mortar restaurants. Armstrong said, “Which means if you’ve got a pretty well-developed restaurant district or area these guys get to park next to it if they want to.”

“When we did the ordinance in Salt Lake City, we put 100-foot limitation and that was expressly because of that.” Milliner explained, “The restaurant owners asked for that the food trucks didn’t like it so they were able to get that in the legislation.”

“I’m still just stunned by the legislative clout that the food truck industry has in Utah.” Council member Doug Clyde stated, “It’s remarkable.”

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