City struggles to write regulations.
The city of Ormond Beach continues to chew on the problem of how to regulate food trucks. The Planning Board heard from both sides of the debate at their regular monthly meeting on April 11. Food truck aficionados spoke of fun, convenient dining that did not compete with brick and mortar restaurants. Opponents warned that food trucks in the downtown area would make life hard for established restaurants.
The topic was a discussion item to provide the Planning Department with direction to write proposed regulations for approval by first the Planning Board and then City Commission. Regulations would include where food trucks will be allowed, such as sporting events, private property and work places.
The Planning Department had sent surveys to restaurants and met with both restaurants and food truck owners. Also provided to the Planning Board were food truck regulations from other cities.
But after the speakers from the audience had their say, the Planning Board had very limited discussion before adjourning the meeting. Member Harold Briley had to leave because of illness, and he was being assisted by Lori Tolland, who works as a nurse, so the board voted to continue the discussion at the next monthly meeting, May 9. Dates are tentatively set for the City Commission to vote on proposed regulations on Aug. 7 and Aug. 20.
Contacted the next day, Briley said he was feeling fine.
As the meeting ended, board members asked the Planning Department to provide more examples of foot truck regulations from other cities to help guide their discussion, in addition to the four provided in the meeting packet.
The issue was first brought up last August when the city allowed an amendment to the Land Development Code so Ormond Brewing Co. could have a food truck at its site. In February, there was a joint Planning Board/City Commission workshop which ended with staff promising to get more information.
FOOD TRUCK ADVANTAGES
Currently, food trucks are allowed at civic or nonprofit special events; along North U.S. 1; and at malted beverage producers in a light industrial zone, a result of the Ormond Brewing Co. amendment. With the growing popularity of food trucks, the city sees a need to have more complete regulations.
“Let’s not share the pie, let’s make the pie bigger.”
JENNIFER BUCKNER, food truck owner
Lee Buckner, of Ormond Beach, who owns Southern State of Mind food truck, told the Planning Board members that a food truck at Cassen Park would attract people, who would then notice the rest of the town. He said people from other cities use the docks at the park.
“I have no desire to park next to a restaurant,” Buckner said.
His wife, Jennifer Buckner, said they would not be taking business away from restaurants.
“Let’s not share the pie, let’s make the pie bigger,” she said.
They said they serve the niche of people who want to eat in their bathing suits.
A restauranteur not in the downtown, Carlos Soldevilla, of La’s Bistro, said he sometimes has Southern State of Mind food truck at his restaurant.
“Food trucks are specific in their menu,” he said. “We don’t compete, we collaborate.”
Andrew Folsom, a resident, said he goes to parks and the beach, and would like to have a food truck available while he’s sandy from the beach or after playing basketball.
TRUCKS HURT DOWNTOWN?
Kirt Roberts, managing partner of Rose Villa, said he needs the sales during special events to pay the bills, because some times are slow.
“I wouldn’t want any more competition than absolutely necessary,” he said.
Jimmy Hull, owner of Hull’s Seafood Restaurant and Market, said food trucks would take away business from the restaurants that have made large investments and helped the downtown develop.
“There is a place for food trucks, but not downtown.”
JIMMY HULL, restaurant owner
“I’m opposed to food trucks downtown and in any proximity to me,” he said. “We’ve been setting the table for a long time and now other people want to take the gravy.”
He said people come to his business in flipflops, saying he has an outdoor seating area.
“There is a place for food trucks, but not downtown,” he said
Hull said he has 80 to 90 employees, most living in Ormond Beach.
Also speaking against food trucks downtown was James Friedman, a partner in the Pumphouse Barbecue planned for West Granada Boulevard. He said the city should invest in businesses that are here permanently and that local restaurants are not fancy and allow casual dress.
Developer Bill Jones said if they allow food trucks downtown, he might use a lot he owns and open a “food truck utopia.”
Jones said running a restaurant is a very difficult business and encouraged the board members to “think long and hard” before make a decision, saying it could end up being a disaster.