The Cape Charles Planning Commission met Tuesday to discuss several items for this year’s work plan including looking at potential locations for dog runs, as well as reviewing the rules for food trucks\vending from a vehicle.
Currently, the Town ordinance states that food trucks cannot be within 150 feet of a brick and mortar establishment, essentially keeping them out of the business district. Commissioner Andy Bucholtz noted that, given the growth in tourism, as well overall traffic downtown, the ordinance needs to be reviewed, “Cape Charles is a place where people come to eat; but when we have events like the Clam Slam or whatever, people have to wait three hours to get into the Shanty or Kelly’s.”
Who would be in charge of enforcing safety of these trucks?” asked Commissioner Dan Burke.
Note: Food trucks are actually regulated by the State Department of Health, not local entities. Although the Town may be able to regulate where they can set up, or if they can operate at all, oversight, regarding how food is handled for example, generally ends there.
Chairman Dennis McCoy noted, “From the mindset that brought us the vegetable truck, you can imagine some local, coming by with a food truck with just enough cover space to support what he thinks is appropriate food preparation, and throwing it out the window…make it safe.”
Commissioner Bill Stramm asked, “Have you seen the one that’s Soul Food?”
“That one’s sketchy,” replied Bucholtz. “I guess it’s the handwriting on the truck that gets me.”
Discussion also noted that, while the brick and mortar could conceivably have a cart on the street, Planner Larry DiRe said that it would be an extension of the restaurant, and would be given a lot more latitude.
While discussion turned to the dog park, and whether council had reviewed it, Libby Hume reminded the Commission that the Dog Committee had looked at the issue last summer, and had decided that putting a park on the beach, specifically at the north end, would not be a good location. They instead recommended an approach that utilized changing the hours dogs would be allowed on the beach. Council shot it down last summer, and so far, has not been brought back up.
“What has to happen before it goes back to council? Is there a dog committee that sends the recommendation back?” Commissioner Michael Straub asked.
“I don’t know. The dog committee has disbanded, or hasn’t met since the council decision,” Libby Hume said.
“Then we need to put in on our agenda, as a recommendation,” said Burke.
“As a non-dog owner, I say definitely ‘Yes’,” Straub said. “It’s a big tourist draw, that’s the bottom line.”
“We get a lot of questions every year from people renting houses, if it is a dog friendly beach,” Hume said.
“We need, can get some public input on this,” Burke said.
Burke made a motion to put dog regulations on the agenda, which passed unanimously.