With warm weather events ramping up, several Farmington council members want to make it easier for food trucks to roll into town.
Officials approved the current rules in February 2017, after months of discussion. They require an application, set an annual limit of three food trucks on a property, along with standards for size, the location, signage, and more. The ordinance also limits food truck owners to three food truck special event permits per year.
Council member Maria Taylor said the ordinance seemed complicated and onerous for food truck owners.
“We do have a Farmington business that started as a food truck and now has a brick and mortar store. I think that’s an example of incremental development that we can foster in Farmington,” she said.
Mayor Sara Bowman said several neighboring communities surveyed five years ago don’t allow or discourage food trucks downtown. Officials designed the ordinance not to discourage food trucks, she said, but “to make sure they were treated the same as others who apply for an event permit.”
Bowman said the city hasn’t had many requests for food trucks over the past several years, but granted those permits.
Exploring other ordinances
Council member David DeLind said he’d like to see what other communities do to encourage food trucks. The small number of applications, he said, may mean the ordinance “might not be as simple or friendly, from a food truck owner’s perspective.”
Mayor Pro Tem Joe LaRussa asked why officials tied food trucks to special events. “Why not say food trucks can operate in these areas of the city during these hours?”
City attorney Tom Schultz said the council looked at “a wide range of options”. The main issue at the time involved Farmington Brewing Company wanting to host food trucks, so it was natural to tie it to a particular user and event. He said the rule is not unusual.
“I know experientially, when I go to other places… it seems the pattern is there are designated areas and designated times where food trucks are allowed to operate,” LaRussa said. He said he would like to see what other cities do.
Schultz offered to share the information previously gathered as a starting point for the discussion.
“We were tasked with putting together a whole bunch of ordinances that I think will be relevant,” he said.
Council member Steven Schneemann said he also wanted to hear from the Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA).