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Plans to bring first food truck park to La Quinta’s Old Town to be reconsidered by Planning Commission

A proposed plan to bring the first food truck lot to La Quinta's Old Town Village could be one step closer to possibly becoming a reality.

An 18-month temporary use permit was previously approved, allowing for the use of two food trucks to operate in a vacant lot along Avenida Bermudas and Main Street. That lot, was purchased by business owner Bryan Newman. Newman, also owns a Pedego Electric Bike store in Old Town, and says he believes there's a market for his food truck lot plan downtown.

"It's all configured around food trucks," said Newman. "And it's kind of like a community hub. And I feel like the city of La Quinta is looking for something that could be a community hub. I mean, Old Town has done a great job, but it is a little on the older side. And it's a little more sleepy. And I do think that a younger generation would appeal to something like this particular project. And every time I've been at a food truck facility, it's been amazing. So why can't it be great here?"

With the temporary use permit, Newman is allowed to have two food truck operating on the lot from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the next 18 months. The food trucks must also vacate the property at the end of every night. IID has already come in to place a temporary electricity pole.

Newman believes the project could bring a unique touch to Old Town's atmosphere.

"I think that there's a crowd that would stick around till 10 or 11 o'clock at night, if we had some live music or something going on,": said Newman. "I suspect that it would be a benefit to the local community, especially if we did some sort of a movie night and allowed kids to come over and make it pet friendly. The vision for this is not just a couple of trucks on a piece of dirt. I'd love to make this a bonafide food truck park.”

In Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting, members of the public were able to voice their opinion on the plans, and not everyone was in support.

Marvin Wells is the General Manager of Old Town La Quinta, and has spent decades doing business in the city. He's disappointed with the food truck's approval.

“So there's no trailer parks in La Quinta," said Wells. "There's also no RV parks, there's no campgrounds. So we find it is extraordinarily strange that the city just decided on their own to approve one, and then two food trucks in an area which is in a city which has never had one ever before.”

He opposed the plan, saying it doesn't align with the city's aesthetic.

"We just think that those food trailers are not in keeping with the history, and the feel of La Quinta,” said Wells.

He's also concerned about the way he believes the plan was approved.

“It's not that we're worried about them taking money out of our pocket," said Wells. "We're worried about the very irregular way that this was approved. Without any planning commission or city council approvals or any kind of public disclosure, we weren't even notified. Nobody was notified of it, it was all done in secret.”

"We have never objected to anything being built in the village ever before," said Wells. "But this isn't being built, this is a trailer being dragged in. You know, every night, every other night whenever they want. Dragged in with no parking, there's no ADA compliance whatsoever here. There's no dust control. So it creates a lot of dust. So it just, it's a blight on the city. And it's a blight on the reputation of the city and I think it's a parasite that needs to be exterminated.”

Wells says he's tried contacting city officials to discuss concerns, but he hasn't had success.

"As soon as I found out about I immediately started writing the Planning Director, the Mayor, and the City Manager. And the mayor, of course, as she always is, when a problem comes up, she's missing an action. She's AWOL. And so is the City Manager."

Other opponents included a local business owner, who brought up concerns about ADA compliance, restrooms, and handwashing stations.

"If he wants to do four trucks, 10 trucks great. But let's set it up correctly. Let's set it up where, where there is no health and safety concerns, where people that are going to go, can wash their hands somewhere. What if they need to go to the restroom,” said the business owner.

At the end of the meeting, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to consider a revised long-term plan for the food truck lot, with time for Newman and the City Manager to make some adjustments.

Newman says he's optimistic about the vote to reconsider the plan, and he hopes that by the next meting the public, as well as the committee can see the possible benefits of his food truck park.

“Tonight was the best case scenario," said Newman. "If they would have just said, "Sorry, we withhold our position", then it would still just be a couple of food trucks on a small dirt lot, which is not what my vision is. So if they're asking for detailed plans, my hope is, is that they won't maybe look at it as a temporary use permit, I would rather get to work now making it permanent, then spend the next 18 months trying to prove a temporary permit is worth their while."

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Tori King


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