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Summit County

Snyderville Planning Commission Suggesting Changing Rules Around Food Trucks

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Summit County
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The Snyderville Planning Commission voted in favor of a change to the Basin’s commercial landscape. They recommended changes to the Snyderville Code to allow food trucks and food truck courts.

Planning Commissioner Thomas Cooke said they saw the amendments as a cool opportunity and a chance to add a little vibrancy to the area.

“A lot of the planning commissioners and staff had done a lot of research and looked at case study’s. Food trucks have been around (since) the late 1800’s. We’ve really seen an explosion since the end of the 2000’s, after the recession, in gourmet food trucks.” Cooke explained “A reason behind that is it’s a way for chefs and entrepreneurs (…) to get into the business with a low overhead. Another thing that enabled the phenomenon is social media; it’s a way for food trucks to build a following and stay connected with their fans.”

He said the code amendment was prompted by a legislative change.

“It had to do with the fact that the state had changed their regulations. Food trucks could get permitted in other areas, and that was happening. They wanted to come here, but we just did not have any regulations on the books that allowed them to operate.”

The amendments don’t say that the trucks can go anywhere in the basin.

“Food trucks are technically allowed in the basin if they’re catering to a private party or something like that. (…) We see it all the time. This code amendment would allow them in certain areas, resort center, town center, and in the community commercial, and neighborhood commercial zones.” Cooke did stipulate that “They do have to be on private property. They just can’t show up and pop-up their awning and start selling food on a street corner. They’re pretty regulated on where they can be.”

Some jurisdictions have stipulated that food trucks cannot be placed within a certain distance from a fixed restraint. Cooke said that the trucks can be a problem, or a boost, for brick and mortar eateries.

“Certainly, there are cases where local restaurants or restaurant associations would oppose the existences of food trucks. But we also saw case studies that showed that food trucks can be incubators for the restaurant industry.” Cooke continued “There’s a great example in Wasatch County, people in our community might be familiar with Lola’s food truck. Lola’s just opened a brick and mortar restaurant in Midway. We see a lot of this in the case studies that we looked at. People testing their ideas and building their following and then laddering up to actually opening a restaurant.”

The amendments also allow for food truck courts to be set up. Cooke said they’re looking to the future there.

“There are precedent’s in other small urban and suburban areas. I think a good example, although we’re a lot smaller, is Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. There are places that have these (locations) where people go where there might be multiple food trucks. I think that part of it very much looks down the road and says, ‘what if?’ What if we want to have a private land owner that has some space and they want to provide some provisions for multiple food trucks to have a scene? How would we approach that?”