Cooking up recipe for more food trucks

A food truck spot near Four Generals Brewing was inaugurated April 28.

If you’re looking for more food options in Renton, look no further than downtown. A new food truck spot was recently inaugurated, and more are on its way.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the first food truck spot was held April 28 at the parking lot next to Four General Brewing, 229 Wells Ave. S.

City council members Armondo Pavone and Ryan McIrvin, as well Renton Regional Fire Authority Chief Rick Marshall attended the ceremony. Rain City Too, the first vendor at the spot, fed the hungry attendees.

The spot will feature a rotating list of vendors. For more information about the vendors that will be present at the spot, visit https://www.bestfoodtrucks.com/lots/profile/913.

The opening was facilitated by the Washington State Food Truck Association, an advocacy organization that helps food trucks in the state operate successfully.

The city is working with the organization to start a pilot program for a food truck pod on the gravel lot of Logan Avenue South and South Third Street. The pod will feature various vendors and will be open for either weekly lunch or a night market. The opening date for this pod is yet to be determined.

The lure to bring food trucks to downtown Renton is part of the Renton Downtown Civic Core Vision and Action plan.

“(Food trucks) can be a positive addition to our downtown core,” said Pavone. “It’s something we need to take a look at as a part of the redevelopment of downtown and figure out how they can fit in. I know there are areas where they’ve caused trouble, and there are areas where they have been successful. We want it to be successful.”

Washington State Food Truck Association as been working with the city and the fire department for over a year to bring food trucks to the city.

In February, the city’s fire code was amended to change the required 20-foot separation from buildings and other combustible things to a 10 foot separation.

Ross Hudspeth, owner of Four Generals Brewing, said he was excited to see the food truck spot next to his business. Four Generals Brewing, which opened in 2016, does not have a kitchen and allows patrons to bring in their own food.

“This is a cool and needed addition,” said Hudspeth, who has been working with Washington State Food Trucks Association and the city to make the spot near his business a reality.

According to Lori Johnson, executive director of Washington State Food Truck Association, Renton city code is not food truck-friendly and said the organization has been working with city officials to make changes.

“The current city code is pretty restrictive to mobile food vendors so we are trying these two private property locations first,” she said. “It is our ultimate hope and plan to have Renton update their municipal code to give food trucks more freedom with less burdensome regulation.”

Currently, food truck owners must obtain a city business license, which costs $150 annually, and attain a fire inspection and permit, costing $100. They also must get an approved site plan and permit for private property, and aren’t allowed to set shop on public property unless they are approved to do so for an event.

According to Planning Director Jennifer Henning, food trucks also require a tier 1 temporary use permit, which costs $200, and a 5 percent technology fee, costing $10.

Henning said applicants also need a site plan “to ensure that driveways and walkways are not blocked, and to make sure that enough parking remains for the underlying business to use.”

Johnson said she would like to see the city follow Seattle’s example and lessen the restrictions on street parking. Currently trucks are not allowed to park within 50 feet of another food establishment.

She also said she’d like to see the city not require permits to park on private property.

According to Angie Mathais, long range planning manager for Renton, city staff is working on possible amendments that will be presented to the council at a later date.

If you would like more information about this new food truck vending opportunities, contact Washington State Food Truck Association at 360-223-3801 or lori@wafoodtrucks.org.

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