Food trucks in Conway? It could happen

Do you want to see food trucks in Conway?

A proposed ordinance and franchise agreements could make that happen.

Right now, only two types of vending are allowed: Transient vending allows for food trucks to be parked in residential, institutional and industrial zoning districts and construction sites for 30 minutes or less. Franchise vending allows for trucks with a franchise agreement to park on public property zoned as the riverfront district, core commercial districts and central business districts.

But a proposed ordinance would lay out vending requirements for vending on private property as well, which right now, isn’t allowed. City Administrator Adam Emrick said the proposed rules would pave the way for food truck parks and brick-and-mortar restaurants to set up mobile locations in parking lots.

“The biggest thing is controlling when and where and how,” he said. “Those are the big ones. We’re just trying to make sure it’s done right.”

The proposed rules are similar to county rules and would allow licensed vendors to set up on private property as long as they have a lease agreement and a site plan that provides two parking spaces per vending unit. They would also be prohibited from operating within 150 feet of an existing restaurant.

But the private property restrictions limit how much business a food truck could do in the city.

“Since I was operating, I’ve had issues with families that have called and said ‘we want you to come and cater our party’ and we’re not allowed,” said Laura Favreau, who operates Charleston Flats food truck.

She said the city had solicited input from food truck owners

“They basically asked us what we wanted here and we kind of told them, because of what we have been doing in the county,” she said.

Basilicato, who owns the Trojan Cow food truck, said he doesn’t think food trucks should be limited in where they can park.

“If there’s the right oversight and we’re doing things by the book and everyone involved is happy I don’t think there should be a limit to what we can and can’t do,” he said

Conway councilor Tom Anderson, who had voiced concerns over how restaurant owners would react to the food trucks, said the city had sent letters to every restaurant owner in the city. None of them spoke up at the meeting.

“If we’ve sent a letter to everybody and we’ve called and nobody’s shown up, all I can say is I feel like I’ve done my due diligence,” he said.

Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said she thought the council was supportive of bringing food trucks to Conway.

“The offering is an opportunity to draw more people into downtown to dine because the more opportunities there are for making choices, the more likely people are to come here,” the mayor said. “I certainly would go into an area where I have choices as opposed to just going somewhere where there’s just one place to eat.”

Christian Boschult: 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian