• June 1, 2020

Council to approve downtown food truck amendment - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Grub on Wheels Council to approve downtown food truck amendment

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  • Food on the Go

    Before the turkey leg is handed to one of his customers, Cliff DeArmond wraps it in aluminum foil and sells the turkey legs from the back, allowing more customers to make their way through his long line Wednesday afternoon at Permian High School. Cliff has been officially running Cliff's Food Wagon for 6 years, having got his start making food for friends and family.

Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020 4:53 pm

City officials will hold their final vote on Tuesday to amend a City food truck ordinance that would allow food trucks to park longer than the 24 hour downtown limit during scheduled events and multi-day festivals.

Randy Brinlee, the Odessa City planning director said that the main reason why the city is considering the amendment is because of their emphasis on downtown. Brinlee said he thought of the food truck idea and saw that the 2016 amendment was pretty restrictive.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the proliferation of food trucks at the time,” he said. “There just had to be a regulation process, mainly for a safety aspect.”

Brinlee said that he thought the main reason the City Council approved that ordinance had to do with certain trucks blocking traffic or being on public property.

The new downtown food truck amendment would relax the previous requirement so that food trucks in downtown Odessa could exceed the current 24 hour period as long as they’re parked in a city planned area for a certain event like a multi-day festival.

Brinlee said that one downtown land owner has vacant lots and showed interest in setting up a food truck park, which would allow food trucks to have longer access to planned areas more than just festivals and events.

Owner of Cliff’s Food Wagon food truck, Cliff DeArmond said he’s really excited to see a thriving downtown and glad that the food trucks have been added to that conversation.

“Anytime the rules and ordinances are changed to be more flexible and supportive,” he said, it helps future entrepreneurs and food truckers. “It wasn’t always that way.”

DeArmond and Odessa City Planning and Zoning commission are considering two downtown properties for a potential food truck park where trucks could park and people could visit and try out the local fare.

Although the plan for the food truck park is in its very early stages, the two locations have been approved by the City Planning and Zoning Commission and they are waiting on investors. One of the lots being considered is located at 600 N. Lee Ave., in downtown.

The first approval to amend the city food truck ordinance was passed in a 4-1 vote on Feb. 25. District 1 Council Member Malcolm Hamilton opposed the amendment and said that he’s not trying to stop anybody’s business, but he wants to ensure safety. He said he’s concerned with the limited ability to inspect the trucks and food borne illnesses.

“I don’t feel comfortable with the food trucks,” he said. “In fact, I believe last time I ate off of one, I got very sick.”

Chef Alejandro Barrientos is the owner of Curbside Bistro in Odessa. He started his restaurant out as a food truck near downtown and said that it’s good that the city is being more lenient and that although the current ordinance is restrictive on food trucks, it did legitimize the food trucks as much as brick and mortar restaurants and helped guide food truck entrepreneurs in their processes of getting permits and certifications. Barrientos still uses his food truck for Odessa events and catering.

“We have just the same amount of rules and regulations if not more,” he said.

He said that along with the health department regulations, food truck owners and employees also have to do background checks at the Police Department. He said that negative food truck stereotypes take away from the potential experience of good food and for future food truck entrepreneurs he said that they should make sure to plan everything out from the food and vibe they are giving out, keeping in mind that they will be cooking in a space not much larger than a walk in closet.

“Try a food truck,” he said. Keep an open mind and, “You might love it.”

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