OGDEN, UT - Ogden City is thinking about allowing mobile food trucks to park on city streets, and while owners of local brick and mortar restaurants say they aren’t against the idea, they aren’t without their concerns, either.
The city planning commission voted Wednesday to approve a petition that would amend a zoning ordinance to allow mobile food trucks in more areas throughout the city — specifically along city streets for a three-hour block of time, as long as the carts are not within 200 feet of an existing restaurant.
Currently, the city only allows mobile food trucks in manufacturing zones, but the zoning amendment would allow the trucks in commercial zones as well. The trucks are illegal in residential areas and that wouldn’t change under the amendment.
The petition to change the zoning ordinance came from Roy residents David and Carol Hasratian, who want to be able to operate their gourmet grilled cheese sandwich truck in Ogden’s commercial zones.
Carol Hasratian says she’s dreamed of owning a gourmet grilled cheese establishment for quite some time and wants to be able to offer her food to the citizens working and recreating in Ogden.
Ogden Planner Rick Grover said once the planning department received the Hasratians’ petition, staffers began to contact local restaurants to feel them out about the idea. The staff also contacted officials from Flagstaff, Ariz. and Fort Collins, Colo. — two cities similar in size to Ogden that allow mobile food trucks in commercial zones.
Among the restaurant owners polled, those who were outright opposed to the idea and those who offered lukewarm support cited similar concerns, chief among them, how would the food trucks impact business at stationary restaurants.
Steve Ballard, owner of The Sonora Grill in Ogden City’s Junction, said he’s not against mobile food trucks, but said major efforts should be made to ensure owners of local brick and mortar restaurants are not adversely impacted.
“We don’t have any problems with competition,“ Ballard said. ”Competition is good and the consumer ultimately chooses where they want to go, but the (brick and mortar restaurant) investment needs to be protected as much as possible.“
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