By Madelyn Scroggie
The Mason Times
Mason, Mich. – On Feb. 9 The Mason Planning Commission crafted rules and fees that make sense for inviting food trucks into the community.
The commission decided that they need to set designated spaces where these trucks can operate and fit fees that are reasonable before making the ordinance a done deal.
“We want our city to be a destination,” said Mason planning commission secretary Seth Waxman.
“Whether we like it or not, food trucks are a trend that brings people into areas. I hope that people will come to us and spend money here,” he said.
The commission wants to make sure any restrictions and fees benefit the businesses and the residents of the community.
“I think regulation on this should be minimal,” said Waxman. “I don’t think we need to be exorbitant in our fees. Any huge fees affect commerce. We want to be reasonable.”
The City Clerk Deborah Cwiertniewicz made a recommendation to the commissioners who will vote on the ordinance by introducing a model ordinance from Traverse City as an example.
Waxman and commissioner Anne Klein Barna are concerned that the Traverse City ordinance is designed for a city much larger than Mason. They have requested to see more examples from communities that are more similar in size and economic stature.
“This is a model for a city that attracts hundreds of thousands to millions of people a year,” said Waxman. “Traverse City has huge festivals and generates millions of dollars in tourist revenue. It’s not the same as Mason.”
The commissioners are also in the works of deciding where the designated areas will be that the food trucks are allowed to operate so that they don’t disrupt any of the local businesses.
To avoid street and residential truck parking, Cwiertniewicz will be looking into places like parks, parking lots, and plazas for potential truck spaces.
“Street parking disrupts businesses,” said planning commission chairperson Ed Reeser. “We need to be aware of how small our town is, we can’t be taking up parking spaces in front of the local businesses.”
The trucks will not be allowed in residential areas. They will stay in more public and populated areas.
“I don’t imagine that most folks would want a food truck in front of their house,” said Barna. “I definitely think that would be an area of concern.”
Kean’s local store manager Laurie Reed said that there are some decent places to eat in Mason, but that is an area the town could improve on.
“There aren’t too many places to eat here since Mason is so small,” said Reed. “But I would like to be able to recommend a place when people come into my store and ask where a good place to eat lunch is.”
In the meantime, Cwiertniewicz will research some of the commissioners concerns and will readdress the ordinance upon the next meeting.
“After all this talk about food I have hunger pains,” said Reeser.