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Additional food options up for discussion

Food carts will be a topic for City Council, May 19

An ordinance to allow food carts in Downtown Sandy will be discussed by the City Council at its meeting Monday, May 19.

The issue was forwarded on to City Council after Sandy Planning Commission agreed on it on Wednesday, April 23.

“Periodically, I’ll get a number of calls from people asking about food carts,” said Planning Director Tracy Brown.

With the exception of the few food carts allowed at Sandy’s Centennial Plaza, current code states that restaurants should be run from inside a building.

“The ones we’ve had on temporary licenses have been doing really well,” said City Manager Seth Atkinson. Occasionally, Centennial Plaza is the site for a waffle food cart and a cupcake food cart, said Atkinson.

In April, the city’s planning and development department sent out a survey to gage the public’s opinion on this change. The survey received more than 430 responses.

“I didn’t actually expect that,” Brown said. “But I’m glad I did the survey.”

“Our survey results showed that a lot of people would be appreciative of more options with food carts,” Atkinson said.

According to a presentation given by Brown at the Planning Commission meeting, 97 percent of survey-takers said Sandy did indeed need more food options, and 87 percent were in favor of allowing food cards.

Atkinson said most likely those concerned with allowing food carts would be businesses, but this is an opportunity for people to have more choices.

“Opening a restaurant can be really expensive,” said Atkinson, adding that food carts can be a less-expensive way to start a business.

However, food carts will still lack the amenities offered by restaurants in the area including bathrooms, heating and convenient seating.

Atkinson said from the city’s perspective, they are hoping to keep the food carts clean and looking nice.

Brown recommended that the ordinance allow the change on a trial basis, suggesting that food cart applications be renewed yearly, similar to a business license, and that the city do an analysis in October or November of this year to see how the new options is fairing.

Brown also recommended that food carts not be allowed to operate as drive-through establishments.

The city drew on language from city codes out of Gresham and Corvallis ordinances on food carts to create the proposed changes.

The City Council meeting to discuss the issue will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, May 19, at City Council chambers.

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