The James City County Board of Supervisors has formally started the conversation on permitting food trucks in the county’s industrial parks by instructing staff to bring potential zoning amendments to the Planning Commission.
Before voting unanimously to initiate consideration of the amendments Tuesday night, supervisors asked whether county planners could expand the types of zoning districts they are considering.
The three districts proposed for food trucks – the M-1 Limited Business/Industrial zoning, the M-2 General Industrial zoning and the PUD-C Planned Unit Development-Commercial zoning – are the only areas where requests for food trucks have come from, Planning Director Paul Holt said.
In a memo to the Board of Supervisors, Planner Roberta Sulouff wrote food trucks could provide “additional on-site meal options for workers” at industrial parks like the Stonehouse Commerce Park and the Green Mount Industrial Park.
Supervisor Ruth Larson (Berkeley), who had asked staff to investigate the potential for food trucks during the Feb. 9 Board of Supervisors meeting, said she would rather not see “redundancy” in changing the zoning ordinance if more districts could be considered.
“There might be some opportunities here for some of our brick-and-mortar [businesses] to expand as well,” Larson said. “That would probably be why I would like a holistic approach.”
Supervisors Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown) and Sue Sadler (Stonehouse) also asked if a casting a wider net could be possible.
Board Chairman Michael Hipple (Powhatan) cautioned the board against looking at the item too broadly and noted the importance of protecting brick-and-mortar businesses that pay rent to operate their storefronts.
“I think this is a good start, looking at those industrial sites where nothing is located and giving the people working there another venue,” Hipple said, noting food trucks would benefit workers who spend most of their half-hour lunch break driving to and from an eatery.
Vice Chairman John McGlennon (Roberts) said focusing consideration on industrial parks could allow the county to “test” permitting food trucks outside of special events and see if there are objections to the limited use.
“If the Planning Commission says ‘Here’s our recommendation for the districts, but we really think you can take it more broadly,’ then we can go back and say ‘Sure, let’s think about that,’” McGlennon said.
Supervisors agreed with his recommendation and then passed the resolution. The matter will be referred to the Planning Commission’s Policy Committee, which will bring a recommendation on the amendments to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission will hold at least one public hearing on the amendments before sending its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Holt said no timeline has been set for the amendments to move through each body.
In January, the York County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that allows food trucks on developed and occupied private properties. The Williamsburg City Council asked city staff last year to begin research on the potential for successful food truck operation in the city.