Food Trucks in the Arts District Parked on City Plan Commission's Agenda This Week

thehotbox.JPG
The Hot Box parked on Flora Street back on October 31, when it went as A Row of Food Trucks on Halloween
At year's end, Veletta Lill, former city council member and executive director of the Dallas Arts District, told Unfair Park: "We will have food trucks in the Arts District by the spring," count on it. After months of working with the city, and experimenting with some Better Block-ing on Flora Street between Pearl and Olive back on a glorious Halloween afternoon, Lill still has good reason to be optimistic: On Thursday there are two items on the City Plan Commission's agenda dealing with "the use of a conveyance as a building for food preparation from mobile food vehicles and related regulations" in the Arts District and downtown.

Both items come with the city staff's stamp of approval, but with some caveats, which you'll see below. Also worth noting: The Dallas CityDesign Studio took time out of its work reconfiguring West Dallas to take a look-see at how other cities handle permitting food trucks, since, as the docs note, "Several other areas of Dallas have expressed an interest in allowing this type of use." Meaning: This is the first serving, but hardly the last. Isn't that right, Fort Worth and Greenville Avenues? Should this pass CPC, it'll go before the city council next month. Now, jump for the staff analysis (and, really, who doesn't?).
STAFF ANALYSIS:

Land Use Compatibility: The 60.1279 acre site is developed with various uses such as offices, multifamily and institutional (church), the Museum of Arts, and Meyerson Symphony. In September 2010, the City Plan Commission authorized staff to determine proper zoning on property zoned Planned Development District No. 145 with consideration being given to an amendment to the Planned Development District to allow the use of a conveyance as a building for food preparation from mobile food vehicles and related regulations.

PDD No. 145 does not currently permit the food preparation and sales from mobile vehicles within the Arts District. Staff has been asked to determine the possibilities (positive or negative effects) of permitting preparation and sales from mobile vehicles within the District. The representatives of the Arts District have requested that the food trucks operate on private property or in legal public parking along Flora Street only. In February 1983, the City Council approved Planned Development District No. 145, which incorporated the Sasaki Plan as part of the ordinance. The Sasaki Plan provides design standards and guidelines for all developments proposed within the PDD. In addition, the Plan identifies Flora Street as the pedestrian corridor for the District.

The City Design Studio staff has conducted research on several cities that permit mobile food preparation vehicles as well as identified the agency responsible for regulating the permit process. Several other areas of Dallas have expressed an interest in allowing this type of use. Typical requirements in other cities include a restroom agreement and health inspection requirements.

Staff has reviewed the proposal to allow mobile food preparation vehicles along Flora Street as well as on private properties. Staff cannot support permitting the vehicles on the public right-of-way. Staff is concerned with the lack of control of the type or number of vendors if mobile food preparation vehicles are allowed in the public right-of-way. Staff is also concerned with the negative impact the vehicles may have with the flow of vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic along a corridor that is designated as a pedestrian corridor. Staff can support allowing mobile food preparation trucks on private property or, as currently allowed, as part of a Special Event Permit. By having the trucks on private property, traffic and pedestrian safety concerns diminish and owners retain control of who can locate on their property.

The proposed mobile food preparation vehicle use will have to comply with all health and safety regulations and any Dallas Development Code regulations. Certain provisions within the Dallas Development Code, Chapter 17, "Food Establishment", may have to be amended to allow for food vehicles to operate as proposed. Chapter 17 prohibits the mobile food preparation vehicles from:

• selling or serving food on any public street, sidewalk or other public right-of-way, and
• stop for more than 60 consecutive minutes at any one location to sell or serve food and not sell or serve food from any one location for more than a total of three hours within a 24 hour period.

Parking: Parking must comply with the parking regulations in Section 145.104(f)(1) & (2).

Landscaping:
Landscaping of any development will be in accordance with Article X, as amended.

Traffic:
The Engineering Section of the Department of Sustainable Development and Construction has reviewed the request and determined that the proposed development will not have a negative impact on the surrounding street system.


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15 comments
Relledge
Relledge

Yum Yum Food Truck is ready to start service in the Arts District with Gourmet Food Trucks

Joshua
Joshua

How about selling food out of old FEMA trailers...lots of them available, and if you don't live in them, a little bit of toxic fumes are not a big deal.....

Joshua
Joshua

Dallas needs to have FOOD EVERYWHERE for the Fat Folks to keep fit? What is wrong with eating in a restaurant, at home, or a bag lunch.....we gotta have food on the run too....next everyone will start carrying their TV remote on a belt holster instead of a cell phone in case the City puts a flat screen in public to prevent network withdrawal syndrome.

Cheesy Food Truck TX
Cheesy Food Truck TX

I firmly believe each truck permitted should not only be valued on it's healthy aspects but on it's overall visual appearence. Then, the city could somehow discern between a drive by Roach Coach and a Gourmet Foodie Truck. A hard thing to judge but VERY import in keeping the riff-raff off the downtown streets.

Cheers to the City of Dallas for bringing this eclectic source of food to the streets! www.cheesyfoodtruck.com

Daniel
Daniel

What is the big difference in the eyes of the City of Dallas between good/gourmet food in trucks like we find all over the US and the regular construction site catering trucks (aka Roach Coaches) that's making this such a problem in Dallas?

Urb
Urb

Hey Joshua - if you don't like it, don't eat there. Some people enjoy them, and cities like Austin and Portland have shown the value of food trucks/carts in creating lively urban places. Would be good to have in D/FW.

Joshua
Joshua

Yeah..send the "riff raff" off to sell hot dogs at Home Depot or homemade ice bars from pushcarts in the parks and neighborhoods....don't worry about what KIDS eat anyway, they get sick ALL the time...but police the Arugula and Cilantro Salad bars so no one gets a bad sushi or substandard crepe.....Eclectic food in Dallasshould only be good barbeque, chili, chicken fried steak, fried chicken and hot burgers....all else should only be sold in Austin.

cp
cp

Re: value on visual appearance.... so typical Dallas.... where form NEVER follows function. CLASSIC!

Joshua
Joshua

Dallas people JUST WILL NOT share a food truck with the low life illegal alien construction worker types...they cannot abide a can of jalepenos, a premade sangwich, a greasy donut, or a mango pineapple guava lime fruit punch in a bottle...must have sophistocated food while eating outside in the poluted air....see, we GOT RID OF CIGARETTE SMOKE INSIDE...so now, we go eat OUTSIDE so the smokers can STILL ANNOY the sensibilities of the elite.

Guest
Guest

There is no difference between "good/gourmet food in trucks" and "regular construction site catering trucks" in the eyes of the City, nor should there be. "Regular construction site catering trucks" exist everywhere, including those places with good food trucks. The City shouldn't be in the business of deciding if the food is gourmet, let the customers decide that for themselves.

That said, permitting with minimum health requirements should help weed out "Roach Coaches." I assume their kitchens will be required to meet the same standards as a brick and mortar restaurant, which isn't necessarily easy in such a small space.

cp
cp

I think it's that those "roach coaches" go to private properties while these food trucks would be on the public streets.

Veletta Forsythe Lill
Veletta Forsythe Lill

@ Guest - Actually the city currently views "roach coaches" and mobile "hot" trucks differently. They are categorized differently under Chapter 17 of the City Code. A catering truck (aka roach coach) has a limited number of foods on board and the foods are all prepared at a commissary, pre-packaged and then sold from the truck. "Hot" trucks (aka gourmet food trucks) can prepare food on board and follow different rules. "Hot" trucks have not been allowed in downtown for decades and that prohibition was embedded in the Development 'Code. The Arts District is amending our part of the Development Code to allow for "Hot"trucks and we are advocating changes in Chapter 17 of the code to change such rules as moving every hour.

cp
cp

Again, it's because the "roach coaches" go on private properties, while the "gourmet" trucks want to squat on public streets. Big difference, at least in the eyes of the City.

Cheesy Food Truck TX
Cheesy Food Truck TX

@Veletta I'd now call it 3 types of trucks. Hot Trucks, White Catering Trucks (roach) and Gourmet Foodie Trucks. The physical difference between the "hot trucks" and the Catering Trucks is size. The Hot trucks are converted Pickup trucks with a box and the Catering trucks, known as Roach Coaches are larger with the blue windows. A "Gourmet Truck" would typically have a fancy graphic wrap and serve different food.

We are all hoping for the best in Dallas as we have our truck hitting the streets in a week or two. www.cheesyfoodtruck.com. It's an enormous project. Last fall, I had given up on this until I met Randy at United Catering. His support has made all the difference. BTW, please friend me on FaceBook... Henry Hester

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