Richmond Extends Moratorium On Outdoor Vendors

Richmond, VA's 'BOKA Food Truck'

By Katherine Tam | Contra Costa Times

Richmond’s BOKA Food Truck

New outdoor vendors and cell towers will be barred from Richmond longer than initially planned.

City Council members extended two moratoriums Tuesday to give themselves more time to update their laws.

The ban on new permits for outdoor vendors was to expire April 1; it now ends February 2012. Sixteen permitted food trucks, a hot dog stand and a flower stand operate here. Officials are taking a look at the law after people complained about the number of vendors. County health experts are looking at how food is prepared.

The second moratorium bars the approval of new cell towers and other equipment, and now expires May 14.

The law on cell equipment was heralded as one of the toughest around when it was updated in 2009. It makes residential neighborhoods a location of last resort and requires companies to prove they’ve exhausted other options before they can propose one in a residential area. But Hilltop residents discovered a hole that lets cell towers rise on public land, even near schools and homes.

T-Mobile won city approval to build a tower at the East Bay Municipal Utility District reservoir on Moyers Road, near homes and Highland Elementary School.

Council members agreed to revise the law. Last Tuesday, they approved preliminary changes that would require cell towers in zones next to residential neighborhoods to be at least 100 feet from houses or 150 percent of the maximum height of the antenna and free-standing support structure, whichever is greater. If this isn’t possible, the Planning Commission will consider the proposal, which is a new step.

The council is expected to give final approval in April.

The moratoriums automatically end if new laws are enacted first.