The Santa Monica Food Truck Lot battle wages on. With the help of our twitter followers (thank you, thank you, thank you), we’ve put pressure on the City to act fast to resolve this issue. Many of the letters highlighted the fact that there is some ambiguity in the zoning regulations (see letter below), which was our thought as well.
Today we’ve got a Land Use attorney trying to acquire a temporary special use permit from the City. I believe the continuing pressure from residents and visitors alike will ensure our success. Hopefully, we’ll be laughing about this next week, while we’re enjoying some delicious gourmet food on the lot.
SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association
Dear Santa Monica City Council:
I write to you about the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot. It was shut down yesterday afternoon due to zoning rules, specifically the catchall prohibited use provision of §9.4.08.22.050. As best I can tell, none of the permitted uses (§ 9.4.08.22.020) include the purpose the lot served, which was to serve as a gathering place for several food trucks to provide lunch and dinner options for people nearby. I expect you have received other letters discussing why the lot is a fantastic idea, so I would like to speak directly to the zoning rules.
While such a lot does not fit neatly into the current list of permitted uses, there is no reason why the Zoning Administrator could not find a food truck lot “consistent and no more disruptive or disturbing” than anything in that list. Id. at (rr). Understandably, there is concern about the foot traffic and the eyesore from food trucks and long lines associated with them. But similar large gatherings of people and/or cars are anticipated by the conditionally permitted uses for auto dealerships §9.04.08.22.040 (b), parking lots (c), Drive-in or take-out restaurants (h), nightclubs (m), and farmers markets (n). Indeed, a food truck lot is analogous to an open air farmers market, with mobile stands and spontaneous crowds.
I request that the council do two things. As a temporary measure, it ought to ask the Zoning Administrator to provide the food truck lot a conditional permit under (rr). And as a permanent measure, it ought to amend §9.04.08.22.040 to include a food truck lot, or to expand (n) to include such a lot.
Thank you for your time,Mike