A local business owner is arguing that food trucks should be allowed in Myrtle Beach and that they could complement existing restaurants.
Zoning code does not allow food trucks on either public or private property. A recent exception was the Food Truck Festival — which was attended by thousands of people — on April 1 in the former Pavilion site at 9th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.
Drew Basilicato, operator of The Trojan Cow Food Truck, asked city council Tuesday to consider allowing the trucks on a more consistent basis, saying that they can work in tandem with existing businesses.
Elsewhere in unincorporated Horry County, trucks have had success working out of parking lots — like at the Dick’s Pawn Shop at S.C. 544 and U.S. 17, Basilicato said.
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“We just go and we’ll talk to local businesses,” Basilicato said.
Mayor John Rhodes said he was concerned about the possibility that trucks could draw business from restaurants that have made significant investments in brick and mortar restaurants. Councilman Phil Render also said he had concerns and wanted more study on the issue.
“I just really don’t want to see us get into direct competition — allow direct competition with our business establishments that we have here today, with somebody that’s just on wheels,” Rhodes said.
But Basilicato said that allowing the trucks would also let existing restaurants create an “annex” to send to other areas to sell their food.
Councilwoman Mary Jeffcoat also said she’s seen success with the mobile eateries in places like Asheville and Hendersonville, North Carolina.
“Is this body going to be open to trends that are happening nationwide, in terms of encouraging small businesses to develop that can’t currently afford brick and mortar?” she asked.
City council directed staff to continue to study the issue, and Planning Director Carol Coleman said planning staff has been examining a proposal to allow them based on the one that was approved two years ago in Horry County.
City Spokesman Mark Kruea said the city already is studying the feasibility of the trucks at the site of the former J Edwards restaurant, at 2300 S. Kings Hwy.
Over the shorter term, the city could allow food trucks through a special event, like the one in April, Kruea said.