Town’s Planning Commission, council review options, locations
Amid other post-pandemic adjustments, the Winthrop Town Council is once again considering the issue of whether to allow mobile food trucks within the town limits.
Because of COVID-related supply problems, and valley-wide staffing shortages, some Winthrop restaurants have struggled to stay open the same hours they have in the past. With some eateries closed for a few days a week, the options for visitors are fewer.
Food trucks have been a topic of discussion in the past, but the council has not acted to revise the zoning code to allow them. Additionally, mobile food vendors would be subject to the town’s Westernization Code, which requires businesses to have a Western-themed motif based on code specifications.
The Winthrop Planning Commission had a public hearing Tuesday (June 13) on proposed code amendments that would allow mobile food vending on town-owned property “as part of an approved special event or through a permit issued by the town.”
The commission will forward its recommendations to the Town Council after reviewing public and staff comments.
In a memo to the council, Town Planner Rocklynn Culp offered a list of considerations including which town-owned properties would be suitable (possibilities are at the Winthrop Barn or at the Town Trailhead parking lot), how many trucks would be allowed at each location, how long the trucks would be permitted to stay, and whether some kind of screening should be required.
Culp suggested that the town talk to mobile vendors to get their input on what they need to operate, and how the town might accommodate them.
Kyrie Jardin, chairman of the Westernization Design Review Board (WDRB) , which oversees administration of the Westernization code, told the council last week that the WDRB would have some comments about the food truck proposals.
Council member Kirsten Vanderhalf supported efforts to make mobile food vendors welcome in Winthrop. “The problem is, we need them now,” she said.
Twisp has two food trucks: Fork on the TwispWorks campus and Lonchera Yucatan next to the Blue Star Coffee Roasters building. Both are stationary. Hot dog carts occasionally pop up around town as well.
In other business:
• The council agreed to extend the loading zone hours on the west side Bridge Street, adjacent to the Tenderfoot store, to allow freight deliveries throughout the business day. Currently the loading zone prohibits any other parking from 6 a.m. to noon.
Rachel Layne, owner of the Courtyard Quail on Riverside Avenue, told the council that “our freight delivery drivers are having a hard time with finding adequate parking in town.” For freight trucks that arrive late in the day, the Bridge Street loading zone is not available. In the past, the trucks sometimes just parked in the street to unload but sometimes were ticketed, she said. Now, the trucks may drop their load at the Winthrop Barn, which means she has to retrieve it from there and bring it back to her store.
Layne said she and other businesses in town are getting more freight deliveries as they catch up with COVID-related inventory shortages.
The council will consider a code amendment at a future meeting. The other two loading zones, in front of the Duck Brand restaurant and in front of Copper Glance, would not be affected by the change.
• The council heard from a property owner in the Cascade Condominiums development who raised concerns about the single road into and out the area, now that more homes are being built, especially if evacuation is required. Culp said she and Public Works Director Jeff Sarvis are exploring options for another road that would connect the condominiums and other dwellings to Horizon Flats.