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Brentwood Takes First Step to Allowing Food Trucks

The city currently has no regulations, and the public works committee agreed to have regulations drawn up by city staff, to go to planning and zoning.

A food truck debate has raged for months in Maplewood, but on Wednesday, with little fanfare, took the first step to allowing them on a regular basis.

Public Works Committee members Andy Leahy, Cindy Manestar, Keith Robertson and Maureen Saunders approved a motion Wednesday to send a proposal to planning and zoning to allow food trucks, with regulations.

City planner Ellen Rottjakob said the city has had requests for food trucks, and so far they’ve been handled with a special use permit.

"The increased demand for food trucks in communites is something that's been in the news," she said. "Communities that surround us have taken action and our current ordinance does not really provide much guidance."

She said the planning and zoning commision has asked for a draft of regulations, and city staff thought it would be helpful to have some direction from the public works commission if food trucks are even desired.

"Creve Coeur and have banned them because they feel they are unfair competition to brick and mortar businesses," she said. She also said there are good examples from cities that have allowed them.

Rottjakob said a food truck owner has requested to operate at the pool, and another one has asked to operate year-round at the Promenade.

The discussion centered around different types of vendors already in Brentwood. Leahy mentioned ice cream vendors that drive through neighborhoods and food trucks at venues such as Brentwood Days and the carnival as examples.

Rottjakob said the owner of the Promenade could decide to allow food trucks onto the parking lot regardless what a store might want, as long as a truck followed city regulations. They agreed that would not want one parked in front of its store, but Rottjakob said that’s just where a food truck might like to operate.

"As they draft something, if they'll at least pay attention to the exceptions, so that we don't end up really messing up ourselves unintentionally," Leahy said.

After a little more than 10 minutes of discussion the committee voted unanimously for city staff to draft regulations, to be considered at the next planning and zoning meeting.

See related in Patch:

Kevin Madras August 09, 2012 at 01:11 PM
This is a a bad idea. Non-Profits, Knights of Columbus, Lions, Optimist's, make their money to support area needs. It's bad enough they allow For Profit food tents at Brentwood Days (sorry Maddenfest) and charge Non-Profits the same entry fee for their tent. These organizations don't need this competition on their "home field." Thanks for asking the residents!!!!!
Doug Miner August 09, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Kevin- There's plenty of time to voice your opinion about this. It still has to go through planning and zoning, then city council, the way I understand it. It's not a done deal.
Elisabeth Boone August 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I second Mr. Madras: this is a bad idea--and once again residents haven't been consulted. What is the source of the "demand" for food trucks in Brentwood? The traffic congestion and parking situation at the Promenade are already horrible. A food truck will exacerbate this problem. If, as suggested, such a vehicle is parked in front of Trader Joe's, all bets are off; that's already the most heavily congested part of the Promenade. Can anyone in our city government spell Gridlock? Trash? Noise? As Mr. Madras points out, there is a big difference between food trucks that operate just for events and for-profit trucks that become permanent fixtures. What's better for Brentwood residents (not elected officials): Trader Joe's or a junk food-dispensing truck?
Kevin Madras August 09, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thanks Doug, I will be there to voice my opinion.
DB August 09, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I am for food trucks, but at the Promenade, really? No way, it's a flustercuck the way it is, let's *not* add more people, cars, congestion.
Doug Miner August 09, 2012 at 04:15 PM
DB - shakin' my head..
Maureen Saunders August 09, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Hi Doug, Could you please check your notes. I believe my opening statement to Ellen Rottjakob was that my gut tells me no I am not in favor of these food trucks. I then questioned how does this impact the current hot dog stand at Memorial Park and was this an instance where we carve out something special. Alderman Leahy stated the hot dog stand has a business license with the city and this is permanent in nature. Then it was clarified that food trucks pack up at the end of the day. I am not in favor of food trucks but do think that P&Z needs to write the appropriate language to protect the city. Maureen Saunders
Maureen Saunders August 09, 2012 at 05:43 PM
My understanding was that we were sending it to P&Z to research and make a recommendation. Based on Ellen's comments regarding congestion, traffic, fairness to other businesses etc. I assumed P&Z would take the necessary precautions to ban food trucks and protect the city. Please print the motion. I don't believe we moved in favor of food trucks. Please clarify. Thank you, Maureen Saunders
Doug Miner August 09, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Thanks, Maureen. I'm checking with Bola for the exact wording of the motion. Regarding your comments being against food trucks, and the stand at Memorial Park, I just didn't get it in the article. Thanks for bringing it up.
Thomas Gibson August 09, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Do not see where we need them. Plenty of places to get food around here, and good food at that! These things are useless gere. Go to a good place to eat if you want to spend your money.
Jim Schmuke August 10, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Should have kept Friday's in Brentwood instead of tearing it down and putting up the 25th bank in Brentwood.
Diane Dodge August 10, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Amen to that!!!!!!
Cindy Manestar August 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I would like to chime in here as well... To my understanding, we (the public works committee) voted to send this issue to planning and zoning so they could examine whether or not to allow food trucks in Brentwood. If P&Z agrees to allow them, they would set guidelines and regulations regarding these food truck. From there, they would make a recommendation to the board for consideration and ultimately, the entire board of alderman would then vote in favor or against the recommendation, which at this time has not yet been determined. This certainly is not a done deal and I encourage Brentwood citizens to make their thoughts on this issue known.
Doug Miner August 11, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Getting back to you, Maureen. As of today, the minutes from the public works committee meeting aren't finished. When I hear back from Bola or Octavia that they're available I'll add them to the article.
Mr. Completely August 11, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I'm looking forward to having a Chick-fil-A food truck in Brentwood.

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