Originally Published: February 13, 2017 6:02 a.m.
COTTONWOOD – The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors are set to meet Feb. 15 in Cottonwood to discuss multiple topics, including a text amendment to the zoning ordinances regarding the allowance of mobile food units in the county.
Development Services Department is requesting the action.
Food truck owners throughout the county, in Prescott in particular, have been looking for an easier path to do business. However, current code-enforced limitations make that difficult.
Food truck wars
In a July 31, 2015, Prescott Daily Courier article titled “Street Eats: Food truck owners unite for access to downtown Prescott,” reporter Max Efrein reported the city statues that prevent mobile food vendors from freely doing business.
“One section of the city’s code says that no one may occupy a public right-of-way for commercial purposes. This prohibits, for instance, a food truck from parking on the side of a road and selling from that location.
When it comes to private property, the city’s land development code says that unless an operation falls under one of the temporary uses outlined in the code, then conduct of business has to be from a permanent structure.
While this portion of the land development code limits large mobile food operations to special events, it permits food carts that are 5-by-8 foot or smaller (e.g. a hot dog stand) to do regular business on private property as long as there is already an active primary business located in a permanent structure on that property.
This distinction was determined by Prescott’s city council just a few years ago.
Food cart operators formed a group — similar to Mile High Mobile Food — and managed to convince a majority of the city council members to change the code in their favor.”
Jan. 5, the Planning and Zoning Commission heard the ordinance amendment for a second time and recommended approval of Zoning Ordinance Amendment HA#H16087 by a vote of 6 to 2.
The proposed definition of a mobile food unit is “a vehicle-mounted food establishment designated to be readily movable from which food is composed, compounded, processed or prepared and from which food is vended sold or given away. This term incudes self-propelled kitchens an trailer mounted kitchens.”
The proposed definition of a commissary is “a base of operations for all mobile food units, pushcarts, and food peddlers selling potentially hazardous foods.”
The Development Services are requesting the addition of a new section to Chapter 5 of the ordinance, that require all mobile food units be subjected to the following standards, as stated in the meeting’s agenda:
• One mobile food unit is allowed to operate on private property of an existing operating business.
• Must either be located adjacent to the principal structure or within the confines of the parking lot of the existing business.
• Alcohol or marijuana sales are prohibited from any mobile food unit.
• All mobile food units to obtain Fire Department, Environmental Health and Environmental Services Department approvals prior to operating on-site.
• Shall not operate within the public right-of-way and shall not impede visibility for traffic safety.
• Shall not utilize any parking spaces required by the existing business and shall not impede vehicular circulation or site visibility within the parking area of that business.
• Shall maintain a clearly marked trash container at the Mobile Food Unit location for refuse disposal and keep area clean from all litter and debris. Use of public trash receptacles for this purpose is prohibited.
• No overnight camping or storage of Mobile Food Unit allowed on site.”
The proposed addition regarding signs is that they “shall be an integral part of the Mobile Food Unit.”
The Planning Commission provided feedback on the item: “Additional free standing signage shall be prohibited, for example; A-frames, banners, side-walk signs, flags, etc.”
Staff is proposing the following text be deleted from the ordinance: “Shall not exceed 12 square feet of mounted signage. No sign, nor any portion of a sign, shall rotate, move, or simulate movement by means of fluttering, spinning, or reflection devices, nor shall it flash, blink, be audible, or be animated by any means, including banners, pennants, or devices affected by movement of air.”
The public meeting will take place at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Yavapai County Administrative Services Verde Valley Complex Hearing Room on the first floor, located at 10 S. 6th St. in Cottonwood.
Jennifer Kucich is a reporter for the Verde Independent.