City officials may soon be reviewing changes to the mobile vendor ordinance if a planning commissioner has her way.
Susan Toscano said she has spoken with the mayor about considering changes to the ordinance that would allow more mobile vendors. Her concern comes as the Planning Department is reporting having trouble finding areas in the city where mobile vendors can do do business.
“This is such a big pain,” Toscano said. “I agree there should be rules and regulations for it... (but) a mobile vendor is not in competition with a brick and mortar restaurant.”
At Wednesday’s commission meeting, planners approved a permit for Alfonso and Araceli Valenzeula, who have had trouble finding a location to sell Mexican food out of a trailer because Los Banos requires mobile food vendors be at least 500 feet from restaurants and other vendors selling similar items.
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The Valenzuelas will set up shop at a flea market at 840 H St. Assistant Planner Stacy Elms said it was not the couple’s first choice.
“It is slim pickings right now in the city of where you can have mobile vending. These folks, this isn’t their first location,” Elms said. “They tried many locations, after this I don’t think there’s another place in this town that meets the 500-foot radius.”
Elms said the H Street location barely qualifies under the city ordinance regulations because Junior’s Tacos is just over 500 feet away on G and Eighth streets.
Toscano encouraged other commissioners to contact the City Council because, she said, only the council can direct city staff to review the ordinance.
Toscano said the customers for restaurants and taco trucks are not the same. She said one wants to sit down an enjoy a meal while the other prefers to eat on-the-go.
The last time the mobile vendor ordinance was amended was in 2010.
Also at the Planning Commission meeting, a 160 square-foot recycling bin was approved at 745 West Pacheco Blvd. west of Santos Ford. The business will operate seven days a week and accept glass, plastic and aluminum.
Commissioner Todd Baker asked if the recycled bottles would create an unpleasant odor. Commissioner Tom Mello said he doubts whether smell will be a problem.
“When they take that container away they bring in one to replace it. If they trade them like they’re supposed to there won’t be any odor,” Mello said.