On a 3-1 vote, the Chanhassen City Council gave the go-ahead to loosen up food truck restrictions by amending its zoning code.
“I’m very much in favor of moving this forward,” said Mayor Elise Ryan, at the council’s June 14 meeting. “I think this is an exciting time for the city to take on something new.”
Ryan, Councilor Haley Schubert, and Councilor Lucy Rehm voted in favor of the measure; Councilor Jerry McDonald voted against; and Councilor Dan Campion was absent.
Before the vote, food trucks were only allowed as part of special events. However, now, with written permission from a property owner, food trucks will be allowed on paved surfaces on private property. The food trucks won’t be charged permit fees.
Earlier this year, Laura Rosati, who recently opened the Chanhassen Brewing Company with her husband, Matthew, submitted a citizen action request to the city regarding food trucks.
There’s no kitchen at the facility, and like most breweries, the Rosatis wanted to invite food trucks for customers.
At a May Chanhassen Economic Development Commission meeting, Matthew stated that, under the previous ordinance, he could only apply for 15 temporary event permits and four special events per year.
Two restaurant operators told the development commission that the city should hold off on the food truck measure until businesses recovered from COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the city, one restaurant owner recommended allowing food trucks owned and operated by local businesses or restaurants.
While he said he was generally in favor of the measure, McDonald said he had two issues that “bother me a little bit.”
He said he was concerned that there were no time limits for the trucks, and that they weren’t charged for permits.
“I think food trucks operate at a much larger advantage than a brick and mortar business can operate,” he said. “I think everyone should be operating as close to a level playing field as possible.”
“Our brick and mortar do need a little more time to recover,” Schubert said. “But I know food truck season is upon us and that’s when breweries bring them in and want them. I’m a little torn.”
Rehm supported the measure, saying that bringing more food options to Chanhassen would bring more people to the city.
Ryan asked that the new ordinance be reviewed at the end of the year.