PINEDALE – The Pinedale Town Council discussed multiple changes to Ordinance 686, relating to food vendors, at two workshops on July 22 and Sept. 2. The ordinance was presented to the council for first reading on June 12.
The first two readings passed without public objection. Food vendors and community members attended the third reading on July 12. Following a contentious debate, the council agreed to schedule two workshops to address stakeholder concerns on July 22 and Sept. 2. No action was taken at either workshop.
The draft ordinance, containing proposed changes made during the workshops, is scheduled for a third and final reading at the regular council meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.
The ordinance allows food trucks, trailers and stands to operate with a written permit inside commercial zones in Pinedale. The fee for the permit will be decided in a separate fee resolution.
July 22 workshop
Councilmembers came to a consensus that all food trucks, trailers and stands must be self-contained. In the draft ordinance, self-contained units are defined as portable facilities able to generate power and water and dispose of waste without using town services except retail dump and fill stations.
Town staff requested food vendors install and maintain grease interceptors to protect the town’s wastewater system.
In cases where food trucks and trailers are operating on an established property, the food vendor must possess written permission at all times from the property owner, the draft ordinance states.
Food trucks and trailers can access town services upon permission from a property owner if the proper infrastructure is in place. The landlord is required by the draft ordinance to confirm that the services used by a food truck or trailer complies with local and state statutes on waste disposal, electrical codes and grease interception.
The council directed the town attorney to include a clause mandating vendors supply proof of a current health inspection certificate and fire inspection report when applying for a permit.
In response to concerns from several vendors at the workshop, the council decided to permit food preparation outside a food truck, trailer or stand as long as the preparation remains inside the permitted property.
The draft ordinance does not apply to lemonade stands run by children under 18 or food sales by tax-exempt organizations.
Discussion at the Sept. 2 special meeting and workshop centered on the length of time a food vendor is allowed to stay in one location. Mayor Matt Murdock suggested a timeframe allowing food vendors to remain onsite for 14 days before vacating the property for 14 days.
The 14-day limitation was consistent with town code on other temporary and mobile property like recreation vehicles, Murdock pointed out.
Councilwoman Judi Boyce argued against placing any time constraint on food vendors. Fourteen days would limit business, she added, and the draft ordinance already contained “enough regulations.”
Councilman Isaac Best called the 14 days “interference in business operations,” preventing property owners from allowing a food vendor to operate for an extended period of time.
Murdock responded that the purpose of zoning regulations was protecting the “atmosphere of a community.”
Food trucks presented an opportunity to grow business in Pinedale and entice more tourists to stop in town, Boyce stated.
Murdock emphasized the need to allow development while “respecting” the integrity of the town’s zoning codes.
Councilman Dean Loftus suggested a compromise between placing too many restrictions on food vendors and protecting brick and mortar establishments. Permanent businesses are required to pay for town services and follow numerous codes to operate, Loftus stated, whereas food trucks and trailers can carry out business at multiple locations without going through the same hoops.
Loftus proposed allowing food vendors to remain onsite for 14 days while vacating the site for 24 hours.
Councilmembers eventually directed the town attorney to add wording permitting food vendors to remain onsite for no more than 14 days while vacating the site for 72 hours.
Councilmembers passed two change orders related to the construction work at the airport. The first involved nearly $7,000 to replace asphalt on a blast pad on the runway rehabilitation project.
Councilmembers also approved a change order to mitigate a leech field discovered during work on the apron.
Abram Pearce, director of public works, confirmed to the Roundup that the planned reopening of the Pinedale Airport was pushed back to Sept. 20 due to a delay in the pavement schedule on the runway project.