City Beat

Sacramento council to debate ordinance to allow long-term parking of food trucks

Food trucks are poised to take a step toward becoming permanent fixtures in Sacramento.

The City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee Tuesday is scheduled to debate an ordinance that would allow “pods” of food trucks on private property for unlimited periods of time. The trucks would likely be managed by associations or nonprofits and would be required to apply for conditional-use permits with the city before establishing the groups.

If approved by the legislation committee, the ordinance would be passed to the full City Council in the coming weeks for final adoption.

Current city code requires that food trucks change locations every 30 minutes, unless the vendors are set up in industrial zones. Special events such as the popular SactoMoFo festivals and neighborhood food truck gatherings are permitted on public spaces, with city approval.

City officials, food-truck owners and restaurant interests have debated changes to the city’s regulation of the vendors for three years. The ordinance under consideration today does not address whether trucks operating independently should be allowed to remain in a single space for more than 30 minutes.

Trucks applying for the conditional-use permit for the pods would be subject to a hearing in front of the city’s zoning administrator. Requests deemed to be controversial could be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission.

Councilman Jay Schenirer, who chairs the council’s Law and Legislation Committee, said the trucks would undergo a “fairly extensive” review before being granted permits. Brad Wasson, a revenue manager at the city, said the permits would cost $3,710. The review process would take about four months, Wasson said.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Schenirer said. “I feel like this is a first step that everyone is agreeing on.”

It’s unclear what food-truck operators think of the proposed regulations. Representatives with SactoMoFo declined comment on the plans, and some truck owners did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Angelica Pappas, a spokeswoman with the California Restaurant Association, said there is “a spectrum of opinions among restaurant owners” about allowing food trucks to establish permanent locations but that the association thinks the proposed ordinance is “a good step in the right direction for Sacramento.”

“Hopefully, whatever the permitting process looks like, it’s a fair system,” she said.