Food trucks now allowed in city of Sumter outside of community events

Harvin Street auto repair shop to close due to rezoning denial

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 7/19/18

The city of Sumter is likely to see more food trucks throughout the year after a vote at a Sumter City Council meeting Tuesday.

Also during the meeting, a vote led to an auto repair shop having to close its doors.

Food trucks now permitted in …

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Food trucks now allowed in city of Sumter outside of community events

Harvin Street auto repair shop to close due to rezoning denial

Posted

The city of Sumter is likely to see more food trucks throughout the year after a vote at a Sumter City Council meeting Tuesday.

Also during the meeting, a vote led to an auto repair shop having to close its doors.

Food trucks now permitted in certain zoning districts throughout the year

Reading: Second and final

Agenda item: An ordinance to amend portions of the city's zoning and development standards to make food trucks a temporary use, subject to annual review, in general commercial, limited commercial, light industrial-warehouse and heavy industrial zoning districts.

The amendment also expands the types of vehicles permitted as mobile vending units.

Background: City council approved an ordinance amendment to only permit hot dog-style carts - mobile vending units that do not exceed 4 feet in width, 6 feet in length and 5 feet in height, excluding the canopy cover - to be operated as mobile vending units in general commercial districts about nine years ago.

Though the city sponsors a food truck festival, the previous version of the ordinance prohibited food truck vendors to operate in the city limits on a daily basis.

According to the ordinance amendment, mobile food trucks will only be located on property that is occupied by a business in one of the approved zoning districts with the business owner's permission. The vehicles must be removed from the property during non-business hours.

Sumter Planning Department Director George McGregor said food trucks cannot operate on vacant lots.

He said the Sumter Planning Commission recommended approval of the amendment but expressed a wish that food trucks not be allowed in the central business districts downtown in defense of existing restaurants and the attempt to expand the local restaurant community.

Planning department staff recommended approval of the amendment.

Discussion: Councilman Steve Corley made a motion for approval, which Councilman David Merchant seconded.

Vote: 6-1 approval - Councilwoman Ione Dwyer voted in opposition.

Rezoning request for Harvin Street repair shop denied

Reading: Final

Agenda item: A request to rezone .99 acres at 835 S. Harvin St. from residential-6 to general commercial to operate an auto repair shop.

Background: The property is surrounded by residential structures at the sides and rear, and a general commercial parcel is directly across the street.

In the past, the property was used as an oil and gas company and has had an active license for a real estate office since 2002, according to a report from the planning department.

During a previous meeting, McGregor said the auto repair shop had not been legally operating on the property because it is not zoned for that kind of use and that there is no business license for the shop.

McGregor said the planning commission did not make a recommendation on the rezoning request and that planning department staff was not supportive of the rezoning because there is clearly an established residential pattern in the area.

Discussion: "As a representative of that area, I have some serious concerns," said Dwyer, who abstained from voting during the first reading on June 22. She said she did not know how to vote on the issue during the first meeting.

People are making improvements in that area, and a garage sometimes brings in other sorts of people that may not fit with the direction of those improvements, she said.

Council needs to think about the future and the young people of the area in this decision, Dwyer said, and not just what's going on today.

If the parcel of land were rezoned to general commercial, McGregor said the property owner would be entitled to all uses permitted under the general commercial zoning district.

General commercial is the most diverse zoning category for commercial uses and includes the operation of liquor stores, which are allowed by special exception, he said. A liquor store would be difficult for the applicant to open on this specific property because it likely would not meet the required distance from churches and residents, he said.

According to a report from the planning department, the planning commission forwarded the request to council without a recommendation, and planning department staff did not support the request.

Councilman Thomas Lowery made a motion to approve the request, and Councilman Robert Galiano seconded, he said, so council could continue its discussion of the issue and cast a vote.

Vote: 6-1 denial - Lowery voted in favor of the request.