YUMA, AZ - The wheels of government are turning slowly as the city of Yuma seeks to find a happy middle ground to allowing food trucks to operate in the city.
That’s likely an impossible task. Yuma City Council members remained divided after a 1 1/2-hour discussion during Tuesday’s work session and another lengthy discussion at Wednesday’s meeting as they acted section by section on proposed revisions to the draft ordinance prepared by staff in an effort to address everyone’s concerns.
The proposed changes include requiring a minimum of 150 feet between a food vendor and the entrance to a brick-and-mortar restaurant; allowing food vendors to use generators but set the noise level at 55 decibels at a distance of 10 feet; and adding an interim category of food vendor for those who occupy a property as a primary user where an existing building is vacant.
But the one proposed change that drew the most discord would allow primary and interim users to leave their truck on the site, rather than having to remove it every night and set up again the next day.
Councilman Gary Knight took exception to that change, saying it takes away the council’s efforts to have a level playing field between mobile food vendors and brick-and-mortar restaurants.
“I liked the ordinance fine before,” he said. “If we make it a permanent restaurant on wheels, how about landscaping? We’re trying to make it like a restaurant, but it’s not.”
Brant Gordon, managing partner for Julieanna’s Patio Cafe, was the only representative of a brick-and-mortar restaurant to speak to the council. He said that local restaurants that provide hundreds of jobs are struggling with the weak economy while facing rising costs of doing business. He also noted that they were hurt by the opening of several chain restaurants at Yuma Palms Regional Center and the number of fast food restaurants in the community.
“Now there’s the potential food vendor ordinance I feel is unenforceable.”
He was asked by Councilman Edward Thomas if he was in favor of competition. Thomas then went on to reiterate that he believes allowing food vendors in the city would encourage new business and provide consumers with a choice about what and where they want to eat.
Find the entire article at yumasun.com <here>