After months of deliberation and planning, more food trucks could potentially be coming to the property of 1005 West Highway 290 in Dripping Springs.
Dripping Springs Planning and Zoning Commission March 27 recommended the approval of five total trucks on the property and the addition of two more when site development plans are approved later this year. The item will now go before the Dripping Springs City Council April 24 for approval.
The proposed recommendation moves property owner Bill Warren one step closer to his vision of providing Dripping Springs with a food truck park, a dream that has been in the works for a few years.
And although Warren, owner of Pig Pen BBQ, has been able to operate his truck and two independent trucks on his lot, the original plan was to have up to nine trucks on the property, a proposal previously shut down by council.
“The process has been challenging at best,” Warren said. “I’m doing this all out of my own pocket with minimal debt to my name and it’s been difficult to get a business started in the city.”
Anjali Naini, planning consultant for the city of Dripping Springs, said at the commission meeting that city staff recommended postponing the vote for the food trucks until the April 24 meeting, pushing Warren back another month to fill his property with other food trucks.
According to the Dripping Springs code of ordinances, a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is required for any mobile food vendor that intends to operate for more than 10 days in the same location.
Warren said he partners with small business owners who can’t afford to open a full restaurant, looking at alternatives such as food trucks to test the waters of the food industry.
But since the city requires a CUP for every food truck added, Warren has to wait to hear an approval from the city before other small businesses can operate at the park, which he said is money lost for him.
Mim James, Planning and Zoning commission chairperson, said he wants to help Warren succeed as a small business owner and work out a compromise so he can continue to operate his food truck.
“I do believe that P and Z was trying to help me and you can tell they don’t want to hurt a small business from operating,” Warren said. “It’s just hard when the city’s ordinances don’t call for a smooth process with food trucks.”
The staff report and engineering study by the city cited concerns about traffic in and out of the food truck lot and space for proper mobility.
One of the compromises for CUP permit recommendation was for Warren to provide the same amount of parking space as called for nine food trucks. According to city documents, Warren is required to provide 27 parking spaces on the 0.85-acre lot.
“I want as many trucks as the city will allow me to have that comply with the ordinances,” Warren said. “The goal is to provide an environment where people can come and hang out, eat and support small businesses and I want the city to see that too.”