A minor use permit filed by Last Call in hopes of continuing to offer food trucks on site was rejected by the Oakdale Planning Commission on Wednesday night, Feb. 5.
The North First Avenue taproom had been bringing in a variety of mobile food vendors periodically over the last several months and presented the minor use permit to the Planning Commission at its session last week.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer noted that the planning commission had only three members in attendance at the planning commission meeting on Wednesday.
“They were presented with a minor use permit that would have allowed the Last Call Taproom to continue to bring mobile food vendors to park on the side of their store and provide food for patrons,” Whitemyer explained. “There was a motion to allow the taproom to have a temporary minor use permit for six months so that the city could develop universal food truck rules and regulations for the community because there are none now.”
Members of the planning commission in attendance did vote 2-1 to approve the motion and allow the six-month window.
“However, you need at least three votes to pass and since they didn’t have three votes the application was denied,” said Whitemyer. “The City has received a request from the Last Call Taproom to appeal the planning commission’s denial to the full City Council. We anticipate this being presented to the council at either the first or second council meeting in March.”
Some downtown business owners voiced concerns previously, including at the Monday, Feb. 3 regular City Council meeting. Rivi’s owner Paul Rivera was among those who took the podium during public comment and said he was concerned about the proposal going to the planning commission. He noted that he had approached Whitemyer and other city officials several months ago, asking for the rules and regulations governing food trucks and said he wanted to make sure they had to abide by the same license fees and taxes as “brick and mortar” stores in the city.
“Allowing street vendors downtown is unacceptable,” Rivera told the council.
He pointed to other area communities such as Sonora and Ripon, which he noted have a vibrant downtown and night life, while others, like Escalon and Manteca are more ‘pass through’ towns that don’t have much to offer in the downtown area.
“Are we a destination or a pit stop?” Rivera asked rhetorically.
He also urged the council to focus efforts on improving the downtown business climate and reiterated his concerns that any mobile food vendors abide by the rules and regulations assigned to permanent store locations, as well as making sure they pay their fair share of taxes and fees.