Flocking To Food

The now-defunct city food truck suppers drew hundreds to the Evans Park area,  but stopped with the onset of the pandemic. Now, the city is preparing for the possibility of food truck parks. The venue would require the trucks to operate, but could offer assorted venues as well.

 

Regulations for El Campo food truck parks were established in a majority council vote last session although whether one will be created remains unknown.

Independently operating food trucks are not affected by the park rules.

The city envisions a future food truck park as an area where multiple trucks can pull into developed pad sites with anything from a dining area to assorted entertainment venues offered. The park, however, could only operate while food trucks were present.

District 1 Councilwoman Anisa Vasquez called for more detail in guidelines.

“They are not clearly defined and can be interpreted in many ways,” she said, using the possibility of musical entertainment as an example.

The city already has a noise ordinance in place that City Manager Courtney Sladek and City Attorney Ronny Collins said should provide adequate regulation.

District 3 Councilman David Hodges agreed. “We already have a notice ordinance. All you have to do is call the police department and most of the time you tell them to turn it down and they’ll comply,” he told Vasquez who in June was arrested following multiple refusals to lower the volume of music during a party at her home.

Vasquez’ made no response to Hodges, but later suggested a reference to the noise ordinance be added into food truck park regulations.

Other council members said it wasn’t a necessary change with At-large Councilman Philip Miller adding, “I appreciate what you’re saying, but it’s implied.”

The 5-1-1 vote, with District 2 Councilwoman Gloria Harris against and Vasquez abstaining, sets the regulations into place.

The potential food truck development regulations, created following an unnamed developer expressing interest, would allow for concert venues, play parks or other amenities, but could only operate when two to 10 food trucks were present.

Each park would require trucks to be removed nightly unless a commissary is provided. Twenty-four-hour operations would be prohibited.

Restrooms must be provided, but can be portable.

Former El Campo City Councilwoman Charlotte Brown, a current independently operating food truck owner, was in the audience, but offered no comments.

Brown had earlier expressed concern over additional regulations for food trucks parking individually throughout town.

District 4 Councilman John Hancock called for more city involvement, but not via regulation.

“I sure did enjoy that the city was doing (Food Truck Dinner nights at Evans Park which ceased with the onset of COVID-19). It was a great city event,” he said.

The city is looking at when it can expand its quality-of-life offerings once more, Sladek said.

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