A request for a special use permit for a “food truck” on city property was quashed Monday by the Washington Planning and Zoning Commission.
Jacob Kandlbinder requested a permit to operate a barbecue stand at 216 W. Front St., on a city street in front of Otis Campbell’s. A secondary option was to operate the stand on a public parking lot adjacent to Otis Campbell’s.
The commission voted 9-0 against the permit. That was after approving a separate special use permit for Kandlbinder to run the barbecue stand on the lot of Zephyr Express at 6791 Highway 100 near Bluff Road.
Planning commission members stated concerns about the Front Street request ranging from the allowing a business to operate on city property, the use of public parking spots and the impact on the homes and businesses in Downtown Washington.
“Do we have rules about a mobile food truck?” asked commission member Samantha Cerutti Wacker. “I know that’s a trend and I am not opposed to that trend.
“I just have philosophical issues with us letting a business owner utilize city property for this purpose,” she added. “It is a slippery slope if we give a permit for this parking lot, next week we’re going to have applications for everyone and their trailer.”
Commission member John Borgmann said allowing this permit would “open a can of worms.”
Wacker stated the city should address food truck rules, but this plan doesn’t make sense.
Sal Maniaci, community and economic development director, said he will explore how other communities regulate food trucks.
“We have discussed the idea of doing a more traditional food truck license,” he said. “I will research what other communities do.”
According to Kandlbinder, he would work in conjunction with Otis Campbell’s which does not have a kitchen. Rick Marquart, an owner of the business, along with Marquart’s Landing, sent a letter in support of the permit.
Kandlbinder said his truck would operate after the Landing kitchen closes. There would be menus inside Otis Campbell’s helping to promote his business.
The proposed “concession trailer” is approximately 7 feet by 16 feet and would operate 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day but Sunday. The application also states that all equipment will be moved from the site nightly.
Commission member Carolyn Witt said the location of the second option is where Amtrak parking is designated.
“I have often parked in the Amtrak parking lot and often for several days at a time,” she said.
Witt also stated Downtown has many food providers, along with residences.
“That also has become very much a residential area,” she said. “I think we need to take that into consideration. . .”
“I think that everyone sees glaring issues with option 1,” added Tony Gokenbach, commission member, stating sight distances from outside the bar and the proposed spots are a no parking zone.
“Someone could easily wander into the street and be struck,” he said.
Gokenbach noted that a food truck located on Front Street could cause problems for emergency vehicles.
Gokenbach further stated there would be sight issues in the second option, and problems with entering and exiting the parking lot.
“If (the food truck) uses five to seven spots and there is a line of customers, is that parking lot even usable anymore?”
Maniaci said it is possible that Kandlbinder could set up on Front Street at the Missouri Meerschaum pipe company, located to the west of Otis Cambell’s, The Landing and Streetside Tacos, and to the east of Sugarfire Smoke House and Driftwood and other businesses.
“It would not be tied to Otis Cambell’s, but it would be halfway between the bars on each side,” Maniaci said. “I don’t think that would interrupt any businesses and still give access to patrons out on the sidewalk.”
City Attorney Mark Piontek added a specific location must be designated for a conditional use permit.
Witt said the owner of the pipe building should be able to give input about a truck at that location.