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Council to tackle food vendor zoning
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Tuesday evening marks the last City Council meeting for 2013, with the council taking on a full agenda.
Following weeks of discussions between the Planning Commission and the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association, the City Council will take a look at the controversy surrounding mobile food facilities in the downtown core zoning district - a matter that came forth after Turlock resident Christopher Shawn requested a permit for his mobile food truck, Vida-Vital, to be located on Main Street across from Dustbowl Brewery Tap Room.
Although the Council opted to grandfather Shawn's business in, allowing him to operate at the Main Street location for one year, the discussion of whether or not food trucks will continue to be allowed in the downtown core are ongoing.
At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council will receive a written report by city staff describing the measures the City has taken to alleviate the conditions that led to the adoption of the interim ordinance prohibiting the issuance of mobile food facility permits in the downtown core district, running primarily down Main Street from Palm to Lander Avenues.
Both the City Council and Planning Commission have approved resolutions with the intention to study the mobile food vendor regulations related to the downtown core, with the City Council adopting an interim ordinance as an urgency measure prohibiting the City from issuing mobile food facility permits in the downtown core for a period of 45 days. As the current freeze on mobile food facility permits is set to expire on Dec. 27, the City Council will decide whether or not to extend the halt.
According to the City, staff is requesting that the interim ordinance be extended for the maximum period allowed under State law - a period 10 months and 15 days. Although a second extension of one year is allowed under state law, City staff expects to have an ordinance amendment before the planning commission and city council well before it is necessary to extend the interim ordinance for a second time.
Although the point of freezing mobile food facility permits is to allow time for the City to amend the current city code on where food trucks may be allowed to operate, the TDPOA has made it clear in past Planning Commission meetings that their goal is to prohibit food trucks from being allowed to operate in the downtown core.
During Tuesday's meeting the City Council will also make a decision on accepting a donation of $35,000 from the Matt Swanson family, who owns the local Pet Extreme, to construct a dog park at Turlock's Centennial Park. In addition to the dog park, the family has also requested that the City change the name of the facility to the "Centennial-Swanson Park" - a condition that was approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission in November. Although there were minor disagreements amongst the Parks and Recreation commissioners regarding the renaming of the facility, a decision was made in a 4-1 vote as they recognized that the City Council would ultimately make the final decision on the new name.
On Tuesday, the City Council is also expected to:
• Recognize the retirements of City employees Larry Chalupnik, Fire Captain; Patricia Panos, Police and Evidence Property Specialist II; Jeff Lopes, Police Captain; and Joel Carter, Building Inspector II;
• Authorize staff to proceed with the property owner notification requirements of Proposition 218 for the consideration of increasing water rates and establishing a hearing date of Feb. 11, 2014;
• Accept the Convention and Visitors Bureau 2014 Budget and authorize the execution of any and all documents relative to the Convention and Visitors Bureau;
• Appropriate $114,978 to the medical benefit expense account in various city operating department budgets to be funded by reserves in the related funds and appropriate $660,835 to the Workers Compensation Claims Expense fund;
• Appoint Mayor John Lazar and Councilmember Forrest White as members of the City/County Liaison Committee;
• Appropriate $225,000 to the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project from the Water Quality Control Fund "Operations" reserve for the purpose of obtaining a water right for the City's recycled water from the State Water Resources Control Board.
The Turlock City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.