Council tables food truck proposal

Mike and Sunny Richter might be one step closer to having a location for their “Mingling Mouth” mobile food trailer in Rockwall.


Rockwall City Council discussed the possibility of food trucks extensively Monday night, before unanimously voting to table the item and discuss it further in a workshop.


The Richters have a contract with the city of Rockwall and have been doing concession stands at Leon Tuttle Park for the past year. They have tried to get a special use permit (SUP), but have failed because landowners are worried that other food vendors can go on that property.


“So we’re basically wondering is there a way we can change the ordinance or amend it somehow to where it just pertains to us if we’re getting that permit for that space,” Mike Richter said.


Director of Planning Ryan Miller said the city’s current ordinance doesn’t allow food trucks, but it does allow catering facilities. The city also allows mobile food vendors and has a permitting process for that. The city allows these vendors for up to 150 days per year.


“The main criteria we have that prohibits food trucks is we don’t allow them the ability to stop and set up in a fixed location,” Miller said. “Right now a mobile food


vendor can go from point A to point B but they can’t stop and set up. The Richter’s have a trailer. The current ordinance wouldn’t allow that because it would require them to stop and set that up.”


Miller added that the city had a request from a property owner in the North Goliad corridor that was looking to amend the ordinance to allow these to go in on a more


permanent basis and they did bring that ordinance change through. The city already had something very similar where they allowed portable beverage facilities such as


snow cone trailers that are seasonal. Miller said the city extended that to be portable food and beverages, but they did have some pretty strict regulations that were tied to providing specific services on that property that are associated with the use.


“However, we don’t have the ability to tie it down to a certain vendor,” he said. “If they did get the SUP, that would allow any portable food vendor as long as they were operating within the constraints of the SUP.”


Mayor Jim Pruitt said every location would have to have a SUP for the food trailer to be there.


Mayor pro-tem John Hohenshelt says he has no idea why the city would require a SUP per each piece of land.


“They’re not going to be able to get on a piece of private property without the landowners permission anyway,” he said. “So what is the SUP process for if they’re already a qualified food truck type establishment?”


Council member Bennie Daniels asked what’s the difference between a food truck setting up and a local restaurant opposing it compared to a local grocery store opposing Farmer’s Market on the square?


City Manager Rick Crowley said when the current ordinance was initially adopted, one of the main concerns was keeping the playing field fair for those restaurants


that are paying property taxes.


“I don’t know that today is the same day as when those were adopted,” he said.


The council also unanimously voted to table discussion about SWBC Real Estate’s request for the city to waive the water and wastewater impact fees for a multi-


family apartment complex located east of the intersection of Discovery Boulevard and John King Boulevard.


Other items of note:


•The council voted 5-1 to approve an ordinance for a zoning change from an agricultural district to a planned development district for general retail and single-family residential land uses for a tract of land within the 205 by-pass overlay district and east sh-66 overlay district. Daniels voted against the item and council member Dana Macalik recused herself.

•The council voted 5-2 to approve an ordinance for a SUP allowing a medical office building exceeding 36-feet in height in the Scenic Overlay District. Kevin Patel of Triangle Engineering, LLC made the request. Hohenshelt and Daniels voted against it.

•The council unanimously approved William Adair’s request for variances to the articulation requirements stipulated by the Unified Development Code in conjunction with an approved site plan.

•The council unanimously approved Brian and Darla Kelly’s request for an exception to the minimum masonry requirements to allow for the construction of a single-family home south of the intersection of Jeff Boyd Road and Hanby Lane.

•The council unanimously approved a contract between the city and STAR Transit for transportation services for fiscal year 2018 in the amount of $102,099.20 to be funded by the administration operating budget.

•The council unanimously approved a contract with Meals on Wheels Senior Services for certain nutritional and senior service programs in the amount of $35,000 to be funded from the administration department operating budget. Council member Dennis Lewis recused himself.