Nancy Nichols did a bang-up piece in the August issue of D chronicling the myriad reasons mobile restaurateurs have had issues parking their burgeoning parade of food trucks in and around downtown (parking meters and the need to acquire a seemingly endless laundry list of permits from Dallas City Hall, for starters). To which Arts District exec director and former council person Veletta Lill responded: Fine, then, let's rewrite the development code and clear out those roadblocks.
Tomorrow, the City Plan Commission will begin that very process: According to its agenda, and this is so City Hall, there will be "a public hearing to decide whether to authorize a public hearing" that would amend the zoning in and around the Arts District "to allow the use of a conveyance as a building for foods preparation from mobile vans and trucks and regulated regulations." Between the two items on the agenda, the areas affected are bound by Woodall Rodgers, Central Expressway, Ross Avenue and St. Paul Street, with some gaps in between.
But that's not all: I asked Theresa O'Donnell, head of Sustainable Development and Construction, for a few more details, and she says the Arts District proposal is but one floating around City Hall: "We've gotten a few inquiries for other parts of town as well -- Fort Worth Avenue and another I can't tell you about." Aw, c'mon. "It's pretty cool," she writes via e-mail.
Still, she notes, this is the beginning of the beginning of the process: "On the city-side, we're still working on getting our arms around it -- health permits, parking, etc. -- but we love the concept and are trying to understand how to handle it through our processes." I know of at least one plan commissioner who wants food trucks not only in the Arts District, but in all of downtown.