TURLOCK, CA – Mobile food vendors are officially not permitted in Turlock’s downtown core as the City Council unanimously voted to prohibit them Tuesday evening.
While there was no disagreement in the room over whether the food truck cuisine is good or not, the point of contention proved to be whether they would be good for the downtown. The future of mobile food trucks in downtown Turlock rested entirely in the hands of the Turlock City Council as the Planning Commission failed to reach an agreement to recommend to the council, an indication of the controversial nature of the item. Individuals from the public on both sides of the issue took to the podium Tuesday evening to make their case.
“I think what other cities are finding is that downtowns are starting to become darlings of communities again and certainly food is a big emphasis. I think part of that whole food scene is this very popular food truck element that has been brought into so many downtowns very successfully,” said Jeani Ferrari, who worked on Turlock’s downtown revitalization efforts roughly 15 years ago. “I think our downtown is being recognized as a food area and that just adds one more layer of interest and texture to our downtown.”
Ferrari also read a letter from Hillary Smith of downtown business La Mo Café in support of the food trucks. However, a fellow downtown brick and mortar business owner vocalized opposition. Ed Samo, co-owner of On Broadway with Two Guys, is a self proclaimed food truck lover but said he feels permitting them downtown would be “an unfair disadvantage” to the established businesses that have paid their dues to the historic district in the form of property taxes, employing individuals, and the like.
“The reason I say that is because in 2004 when we moved here, from the railroad tracks on it was a ghost town. There was nothing down here,” said Samo. “So now that all of the brick and mortars have laid all of the groundwork and have brought all of these people to what was years ago a dead downtown, now all of a sudden there’s this huge interest in the food trucks to come in… if it was such a big deal where were you years ago when downtown was struggling?”
Ironically, there are presently no food truck businesses with active permits to operate downtown at this time.
Find the entire article at turlockjournal.com <here>