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Vita-Vital to come downtown

POSTED November 22, 2013 7:42 p.m.

After much deliberation, a new food truck will soon be parked downtown.

While at the center of a hot debate between the City and downtown business owners regarding the existence of mobile food vendors in Turlock’s downtown, Vida-Vital is moving forward with business.

With plans to open in the coming weeks, Christopher Shaun, owner of Vida-Vital, hopes to bring healthy food options to the downtown area. Bringing food choices such as smoothies, crepes, fruit bowls and wraps, Shaun is counting on customer satisfaction to prove that the business belongs in the downtown district.

“I went to 40 downtown businesses, and out of those 40, 32 signed on saying that they wanted these healthy options downtown,” said Shaun, who hopes to have the business up and running by the first week of December.

The debate over Shaun’s truck came from the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association who took issue with allowing mobile food vendors in the downtown district. Their main concern, according to TDPOA administrator Dana McGarry, is that the food trucks have “unfair business advantageous” over existing businesses downtown.

As part of the TDPOA, business owners in the downtown district pay an extra 42-cent per square foot tax that is dedicated to the maintenance of the area. As mobile food vendors do not have a set location, the businesses would not be subject to the tax under current regulations. But Shaun says that he is willing to pay the tax if it means they would be open to allowing him to operate in the downtown core.

The City of Turlock opted to grandfather Shaun’s business in, allowing Vida-Vital to operate at the downtown location while the regulations are looked at by members of the Planning Department and TDPOA.

“I plan to bring my truck out on Monday,” said Shaun, who has been working diligently to get the Vida-Vital truck prepared for business. “Hopefully things go well.”

Vida-Vital is currently planned to be parked at the empty parking lot on Main Street across from Dustbowl Brewing Company. If weather permits, Shaun hopes to operate during peak lunch and dinner hours, being open no longer than four hours a day.

The Turlock Planning Commission will be holding a meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 to further discuss the regulations surrounding mobile food vendors in the downtown district. According to city staff, no official decision will be made at this meeting.

The meeting will be held at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.

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