Brentwood, MO: Brentwood Takes First Step to Allowing Food Trucks

A food truck sells at Maplewood's Let Them Eat Art event. Credit Doug Miner

By Doug Minor | Maplewood-Brentwood Patch

A food truck sells at Maplewood’s Let Them Eat Art event. Credit Doug Miner

The city currently has no regulations, and the public works committee agreed to have regulations drawn up by city staff, to go to planning and zoning.

A food truck debate has raged for months in Maplewood, but on Wednesday, with little fanfare, Brentwood took the first step to allowing them on a regular basis.

Public Works Committee members Andy Leahy, Cindy Manestar, Keith Robertson and Maureen Saunders approved a motion Wednesday to send a proposal to planning and zoning to allow food trucks, with regulations.

City planner Ellen Rottjakob said the city has had requests for food trucks, and so far they’ve been handled with a special use permit.

“The increased demand for food trucks in communites is something that’s been in the news,” she said. “Communities that surround us have taken action and our current ordinance does not really provide much guidance.”

She said the planning and zoning commision has asked for a draft of regulations, and city staff thought it would be helpful to have some direction from the public works commission if food trucks are even desired.

“Creve Coeur and Maplewood have banned them because they feel they are unfair competition to brick and mortar businesses,” she said. She also said there are good examples from cities that have allowed them.

Rottjakob said a food truck owner has requested to operate at the Brentwood Forest pool, and another one has asked to operate year-round at the Promenade.

The discussion centered around different types of vendors already in Brentwood. Leahy mentioned ice cream vendors that drive through neighborhoods and food trucks at venues such as Brentwood Days and the St. Mary Magdalen carnival as examples.

Rottjakob said the owner of the Promenade could decide to allow food trucks onto the parking lot regardless what a store might want, as long as a truck followed city regulations. They agreed that Trader Joe’s would not want one parked in front of its store, but Rottjakob said that’s just where a food truck might like to operate.

“As they draft something, if they’ll at least pay attention to the exceptions, so that we don’t end up really messing up ourselves unintentionally,” Leahy said.

After a little more than 10 minutes of discussion the committee voted unanimously for city staff to draft regulations, to be considered at the next planning and zoning meeting.