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provo city hall

PROVO, UT – Mobile food businesses were given some new marching orders Tuesday: Stay out of downtown Provo, unless invited for a special occasion.

The Provo Municipal Council approved unanimously, with two council members missing, an ordinance on licensing and regulating food truck vendors, what they can and cannot do, and where they can do it.

Highlights of the new regulations include the following:

  • Food trucks will not be allowed in the downtown area without special permission from the city administration, exceptions would be allowed for special events in the downtown area.
  • Food trucks will be allowed adjacent to city parks with approval from the parks director.
  • Background checks will be done on food truck owners and drivers but not on all employees.
  • Multiple food trucks will be allowed to operate on the same street.

Those missing were chairman Hal Miller and council member Gary Garrett.

“I feel the document we have come up with is very good,” said councilman Stephen Hales.

Members of the brick and mortar restaurant owners group, truck vendors and other downtown residents met during the past two weeks to agree on what is good for everyone.

Discussion considered how federal law may prohibit restriction on the free markets and how food trucks can be kept from the Center Street area.

The accepted distance is a 100-foot radius from the main entrance of a brick and mortar restaurant. However, the number of restaurants and the type of parking available already is very prohibitive in the downtown area.

One suggestion included the city’s mayor signing off on exemptions for trucks in the downtown area.

“Overall I’m not excited about exemptions coming to me,” Mayor John Curtis said. “That’s all I would be doing — approving exemptions.”

Some discussion included using a neighborhood chair to help.

Council attorney Brian Jones said, “The intent only applies to the downtown neighborhood chair. All of legal staff have concerns about a prohibition district. We’re creating a district in which food trucks cannot enter, except on special occasions. Granting power to grant exceptions is taking away the power of the administration.”

Find the entire article at heraldextra.com <here>

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SCERA Center for the Arts

OREM, UT - As the food truck craze carries on, local cities and restaurants are trying to figure out how to address the new traffic and accompanying problems (many of which can be good) associated with the business. Newly organized food truck roundups are popping up shop in parking lots each week from Pleasant Grove to Spanish Fork and everywhere in-between. Cities and neighborhoods are grabbing up time slots it seems, and they’re going quick.

The City of Orem seems to be one of them. Welcoming the trend with arms wide open, the SCERA Center for the Arts has jumped on this business bandwagon and hosted its first food truck roundup on Monday evening.

At least 12 food trucks gathered, including Sweeto Burrito, Corndog Commander, Beli and Green Me, in the SCERA parking lot by its art studio and shop building between 5 and 9 p.m., serving up a variety of food for people from all over Utah Valley. People and food truck owners alike are optimistic for this new, stable opportunity revolving around grub.

“They’re excited, and nearly everyone I talked to from the food trucks were excited,” SCERA Center for the Arts President and CEO Adam Robertson said. “We’re structured a little bit different than other [roundups]. The food trucks are giving back to the SCERA as well. It’s nice to provide an event for the community, but know that some of these proceeds support the SCERA.”

And the SCERA is not the only one benefiting from this new outreach. With plans to hold the rally every week — including through winter weather — the food trucks look forward to the stability and entertainment aspect the center will bring.

“Historically for food trucks, there’s been a real lack of entertainment. The SCERA is combining those,” Utah Food Truck Association President Keith Crossley said. “The real fear is always when winter rolls around that there might be major dips. We can’t change the fact it’s winter. So, we embrace it with activities like ice rinks and games. We own it and use it in our favor.”

Find the entire article at heraldextra.com <here>

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Provo Downtown

PROVO, UT – Laws already on the books make it so mobile food vendors can’t park on Center Street and University Avenue. However, Provo restaurant owners would like food trucks to keep their distance and stay in other less-competitive locations.

That doesn’t mean the public feels the same way. At least 68 percent of respondents surveyed by the city say they like having the trucks available. The food trucks believe when it comes to special events like the Rooftop Concert series, there should be a spot for them.

At Tuesday’s Municipal Council work session, council members discussed these topics and possible changes to a city ordinance that would regulate food trucks, where they could park and other safety factors.

Amendments to the code could enlarge the radius area in which a food truck can park from the front door of a brick-and-mortar restaurant from 100 feet to a suggested 200 feet. With 56 restaurants in downtown, those circles could put them right out of the downtown business hub.

On March 4, the council asked city staff to find out what residents think. A total of 807 responded to a city online survey and through the city newsletter. Sixty-six percent said they visit a mobile food business at least once a month, while 68 percent said they would like to see more trucks. That same percentage would be more likely to visit downtown if there were more trucks there. Seventy-one percent said they would like to see the trucks at city parks.

While it was a very positive result from the food trucks’ point of view, Dean Judd, a board member of the Downtown Restaurant Association, said he thought the survey was one-sided.

“Food trucks are mobile for a reason,” Judd said. “They are designed to go where restaurants are. They should target other locations. Residents don’t know what owners go through to stay open. They shouldn’t be allowed in downtown Provo.

Find the entire article at heraldextra.com <here>

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salt lake city food trucks

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Food trucks along the Wasatch Front continue to roll along, with new offerings hitting the streets all the time.

No matter what you’re craving — Korean barbecue, Canadian poutine, Mexican-style fresh fruit or American grilled cheese — there’s something to satisfy a hunger for street food.

Chow Truck, Salt Lake City’s first food truck, arrived in 2010; since then, the field has grown. Today, 36 mobile food trucks are licensed to operate in Salt Lake City alone, said Jessica Thesing, the city’s economic development manager.

Maybe the best indicator of the popularity of food trucks is the Thursday Food Truck Rally at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Every Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., hundreds of people fill the street between 200 and 300 South to savor street-style foods.

It’s so popular, new food trucks that want to participate in the event sometimes find it difficult to get a spot.

Every week, 15 to 20 trucks apply for the seven available spaces, Thesing said. “We try to rotate them through, so that everyone gets a turn.”

But the competition is so fierce that some trucks don’t even bother to apply, opting instead to have weekly spots at area farmers markets or businesses near the airport, the University of Utah or industrial parks where food options are scarce.

The city ordinance that was developed in 2011 to govern mobile food vendors would allow for the creation of another “food court” somewhere else in the city, Thesing said. “But no one has come forward to do that yet.”

Find the entire article at sltrib.com <here>

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ogden downtown

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.“

Find the entire article at standard.net <here>

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