|Food trucks could soon become part of the Elk Grove dining scene.|
Although the council deferred making a decision until at least the August 22 meeting, a number of restaurateur's spoke on the matter during the public comment portion.
Franco Casella, owner of the popular Old Town Elk Grove establishment the Brick House, said that he is not against mobile food trucks operating in town. However he voiced several concerns about the effects they might have on area businesses.
Among those concerns Casella said if trucks were allowed to operate for up to two hours, their patrons might use restrooms at local restaurants and businesses.
"It puts the burden on restaurants and non-restaurant owners," he said. "I think that is unfair to ask."
Casella also noted the trucks don't have to pay impact fees while his brick and mortar establishment had to pay $21,000. Casella suggested that a set place be established in the city, such as the Elk Grove Regional Park, where the truck could operate.
While Casella expressed concerns, four others voiced support for relaxing regulations. Among them was Paul Somerhausen, promoter of the popular SactoMoFo events and food truck entrepreneur and long-time chef Keith Breedlove.
Somerhausen said that the food trucks can act as incubators for operators, some of whom have moved on to open brick and mortar restaurants. He said five truck owners who have participated in his events have opened area restaurants that employ about 200 people.
"Elk Grove needs it," Breedlove said of mobile food trucks that could operate here. "There are more positives than there are negatives."
During council discussion on the matter, Mayor Jim Cooper said that while the city owes some allegiance to existing restaurants that have invested in the city, he supported allowing food trucks to operate more freely in the city.
"I support it, lets do it, but lets do it right," he said.