Hoping For Reversal
On February 5, the Oakdale Planning Commission rejected a minor use permit filed by Last Call Brewing to continue to offer food trucks on site. Last Call has requested an appeal from the City Council, and I hope that the Commission’s denial will be reversed.
As a long-time resident of Oakdale, I have found the recent developments to its downtown area to be exciting and promising for our town’s future. I think that Last Call has been largely responsible for drawing in visitors and locals alike, adding energy to an area that needed it while maintaining our small town feel. Many times, I have proudly brought friends and family visiting from out of town to Last Call. They have been impressed by the quality and variety of beer with which Last Call fills their board and by the food truck offerings usually only found in a bigger city. At the same time, our visitors have appreciated that it is still an Oakdale venue – customers and staff alike greet us with a smile when we walk into “our” taproom.
Last Call’s business plan is exactly what the downtown Oakdale area needed. It is a family-friendly taproom where people feel comfortable bringing their children along with them. My children in particular looked forward to visiting with us when they could get a Food Fix sandwich or some Smokin Oakie mac and cheese, maybe while enjoying some live music. Last Call provided variety and interest downtown with a rotating corps of food trucks. These vendors with whom Last Call cultivated strong business relationships brought in cuisine which, for the most part, is not found anywhere else in town. Those food trucks meant that locals did not have to go spend their money out of town to change up their meal choices.
This is why I was so surprised and dismayed to hear that the Planning Commission did not approve Last Call’s Use Permit application on February 5. When the City’s General Plan Policies include, “Preserve and strengthen the vitality of Downtown Oakdale as the City’s civic, social, and symbolic core,” and, “Support the development of community oriented cultural facilities and events that attract residents and visitors to Downtown,” in whose interests was the Planning Commission acting? The decision to prevent Last Call from continuing to bring in food trucks was not best for downtown, not best for locals, not best for visitors, and not best for Oakdale.
I hope that Last Call is able to appeal this decision successfully at the City Council meeting on March 2 with help from interested parties who will attend and make their voices heard. Oakdale’s citizens should be able to count on their elected officials to serve the commercial, social, and cultural needs of all of the residents of and visitors to our hometown.
In Support Of Food Trucks
(Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of a letter sent to Oakdale City Council members that was also provided for inclusion in The Leader.)
I am writing on behalf of Last Call in support of their food truck vendors. I think it is important to develop a protocol in regards to food trucks, permits, etc.
As a long-time resident of Oakdale (40 years) I want to see our community continue to thrive for the better. Together we should be able to make a decision that benefits all businesses in town. Many of the food trucks are owned by local residents and not being able to serve food at Last Call has definitely put a damper on their businesses. I look forward to bringing friends in from out of town to enjoy the local flavors. Having food, entertainment and good beer in the same place is definitely a draw. The beer speaks for itself. I can bring my own food from home or pick up something on the way. I have done it before.
If we are looking to improve the foot traffic downtown and want to offer a variety of foods to local residents please allow the food trucks to return. Last Call has brought me downtown more in the last 11 months that I have been in the last five years or more combined. I have frequented businesses I quite frankly forgot we had in town. Walking around downtown allows us as residents to appreciate the little treasures our town has.
Last Call is a place where you can bring your children, your dogs, play board games, relax, watch a game on TV and just be present with your company. Many other cities have embraced food trucks and local breweries combining the two: Monterey, Napa, Lodi just to name a few. The city of Modesto has dedicated an area to food trucks. Currently citizens want eateries that are family and pocketbook friendly. If that upsets a local business owner, they should change their business plan to evolve with the times. The clientele attracted is different for each business. Please keep in mind many of our local schools and events like to have food trucks for special events or annual gatherings. Not allowing food trucks on public streets would make these events no longer possible. I hope to see all businesses flourish and support one another.