Medford residents soon could find more late-night snack options if the City Council approves a code change that would allow food trucks to stay open as late as 2:30 a.m.
Medford City Planning Director Matt Brinkley told the council Thursday that the proposed ordinance would allow food trucks to use on-street parking spots from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. while serving customers. The proposed ordinance would require food trucks used during those hours to be self-contained, without the need for utility connections and be movable without assistance from another vehicle.
Several councilors seemed supportive of the idea, but the council agreed to not vote on it before having a study session and public input.
“My preference on these things is not have an ordinance in front of me but to have a public hearing or start with a study session to see what are the pluses and minuses, why should we do it, why shouldn’t we do it, then run it through a typical public hearing to see what the public wants,” Councilor Tim Jackle said. “I think it’s a good idea, but I really don’t like jumping right into the ordinance.”
Councilor Kay Brooks echoed the sentiment, saying she supported the proposal for food trucks downtown.
“I don’t see any problem with them parking at 5:30 or 6 p.m.,” Brooks said. “There’s not a lot going on in downtown Medford. So I think if we are looking at downtown revitalization, maybe this is one of the ways we can do it.”
The council in June amended an ordinance to allow bigger food carts within the city limits.
During the discussion on the larger trucks, Brinkley said, the planning staff also evaluated options to allow late-night food trucks. He said staff raised some concerns, and because of time sensitivity decided to drop it at the time.
Brinkley said Grants Pass has passed a similar ordinance that allows food trucks to be in the public right-of-way.
City Manager Brian Sjothun also suggested that food trucks could be allowed adjacent to Alba Park during the daytime. With more than 1,000 people working in the immediate area, the food carts could be in demand during lunchtime, he said.
Medford, and Jackson County as a whole, has seen a growing number of mobile units in the last 10 years. According to the 2016 County Environmental Public Health annual report, there were 106 mobile food trucks registered in Jackson County.
Planning staff said the proposal could be completed by September or October.
— Tran Nguyen is a reporting intern. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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