Council Stalls On Food Truck Decision
A proposal to amend the Snyderville Code to allow mobile food trucks ran into some challenges from the Summit County Council Wednesday. In the end, the council put off the action on the change.
Council members were concerned about how the trucks would impact brick and mortar businesses. And they asked for more research on how they can regulate the trucks for health, safety and welfare reasons.
Under the amended code, forwarded from the Snyderville Planning Commission, the mobile trucks could set up on private property in commercial zones within the basin.
Staff planner Ray Millner said the trucks wouldn’t be allowed to set up on landscaped areas and can’t take up parking spaces or sidewalk area.
They wouldn’t be allowed in residential zones, except if a special event or a private function was taking place there.
The proposal also allows two or more trucks in a “food court.”
In the public hearing, the only speaker was Penny Kinsey, owner of the Blind Dog restaurant in Park City and a board member of the Park City Area Restaurant Association. She said brick and mortar restaurants are concerned about the taxes they have to pay, while the mobile trucks don’t.
“You have a lot of people that have been in business for a long time or businesses that are already starting.” Kinsey said, “When I drive into Redstone and I see a food truck with twenty people standing in front of it when there’s four or five restaurants within that area that’s money out of their pockets which is money out of Summit County.”
Council members said they’re bound under recent state legislation, which eased the amount of red tape that trucks have to go through to operate in multiple locations.
As council chair Kim Carson noted, the recent law stipulates that 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.”
“This is actually better than the bill could have been. Unfortunately, the state has already made that decision for us that those taxes, you know you have your home county license and then they are not required by state statute to get a business license within other counties that they operate.” Carson continued, “Under their current conditions they’re already allowed to come up here and we have no way to demand that they pay our local taxes. However, they are coming up and we’re trying to add regulations to improve safety and health.”
She added that in Summit County, for instance, a truck will have to get a permit form the health department but doesn’t have to pay a fee here.
Council member Doug Clyde told Kinsey he sympathizes with her situation.
“Want people to frequent your businesses and we want people to pay the taxes there. Unfortunately, that has been taken out of our hands in this case.” Clyde explained, “Under the conditional use permit process, we are allowed to put reasonable conditions but there has to be a nexus between the impact of the business and the impact that we’re trying to mitigate.”
Clyde said he was concerned that the trucks could operate for extended periods of time, in direct competition with fixed restaurants. The council discussed if the trucks, which are supposedly temporary, can exploit loopholes.
The proposed code amendment said the trucks can only operate in one spot for 12 hours within a 24-hour period. Clyde said that a truck could operate for months, just by moving the truck every day.
Kinsey said a food truck, not far from her location, operated for six days during a Sundance Film Festival.
Clyde asked also how a truck operation has proper access to toilet facilities for its workers.
“This is an interesting question, you’re not allowed to build a house and have construction workers on that site without having a toilet and hand-washing facilities.” Clyde asked, “How do you have an employee on site, on your food truck without toilet and hand wash facilities?”
It looks like the proliferation of food trucks isn’t going to slow down. Kinsey said one appears at Redstone nearly every day. Staff planner Milliner said they appear occasionally at the Outlet Mall.
County manager Tom Fisher said that could raise an enforcement problem.
“This enforcement part has me concerned.” Fisher said, “I don’t know what the proliferation will be coming into the county but if we don’t have ability to raise money for that enforcement it’s just going to be done through the general fund.”