Planning Board seeks to protect restaurants.
At the April 11 Planning Board meeting, there was a clash between food truck owners and restaurants in the “downtown” of West Granada Boulevard. Food truck fans said their presence near the downtown would bring in more customers for all businesses. The eatery owners feared trucks would hurt established businesses.
The downtown restaurants can breathe a sigh of relief, because in their most recent discussion on May 9, the board members stated they were in favor of food trucks but do not want them placed where they might compete with brick and mortar establishments.
The city legal department now faces the task of amending the Land Development Code for food trucks, dealing with complex issues of where and when they can be parked, distance from restaurants, permitting, etc. Lunch trucks, which deliver prepared food, will also be covered. City staff expects to have a code for the Planning Board to consider sometime this summer.
After the Planning Board reviews the proposed codes, the City Commission will have the final say in two public meetings, possibly in September.
Food trucks at the Sports Complex on Hull Road present possible competition with youth sports leagues that raise money with concessions. The board members directed staff to allow the trucks in certain conditions, but not to compete with fund-raising.
Also, the board members did not want competition with existing vendors, such as the bait shop at Cassan Park and Andy Romano Beach Park which has a concession.
In regard to allowing food trucks serving lunch for workers, the board again did not want blanket approval, tending to favor industrial parks or businesses where no restaurants were nearby.
Food trucks that work with a restaurant and park in their lot also presents a sticky situation. The board members approved the joint ventures, but said there should be a distance requirement between the food truck and another restaurant.
A downtown restaurant owner presented the board with data showing their sales went down when food trucks were at the nearby river parks during an event, but the board indicated food trucks should continue to be allowed during events.
PLANTATION OAKS FUTURE GROWTH
The city and county are currently working out an annexation for Plantation Oaks, a new development located between Interstate 95 and Old Dixie Highway with access from North U.S. 1, and the city will vote on the matter later this year.
Parker Mynchenberg, engineer for the development, told the board members at the May 9 meeting that the owners are excited about coming into the city. Asked about the progress, Mynchenberg said they now have 97 lots for manufactured homes, and there are other sections where as many as 1,577 stick-built homes could be built over several years, depending on market demand.
FEES FOR MURALS
In other government news, the City Commission at their May 7 meeting voted to require businesses that want murals to pay the advertising fees for the Planning Board and City Commission meetings, which would total about $300.
Only Commissioner Rob Littleton voted against the fee. There was no discussion, but at the April 2 first reading, Littleton said he did not want to disincentivize business owners, saying they would be spending thousands of dollars on the mural.
Other commissioners called the advertising fee “nominal,” and did not want to pass it to taxpayers.
City Attorney Randy Hayes pointed out that the ordinance approving the mural project stated that the city would not incur any expense, so if they decided to absorb the fee, they would have to revisit that ordinance.
Commissioner Dwight Selby was absent but had voted against the fees at the first reading, saying he preferred to have a moratorium for the first year to get the program started. Other commissioners said they did not like being inconsistent with fees.