Food truck hearing on expanded usage postponed

An expanded service area for food trucks in Sequim will have to wait.

Discovery of more state-required land use protocols led City of Sequim staff to delay a public hearing set for the June 12 city council meeting where they were scheduled to consider a revision to the city’s code for Mobile Food Service Vendors.

Sequim city councilors originally agreed on May 8 to hold a public hearing on the potential code changes no later than their June 12 meeting.

Now, two public hearings are scheduled, on Tuesday, June 27, with the Sequim Planning Commission and Monday, July 10, with the city council.

The most significant change with the ordinance would allow permitted mobile food vendors in the downtown core.

Currently, permitted mobile vendors must operate in non-residential zones west of Fifth Avenue and east of Brown Road. If they use a site for more than four hours they must leave their sites at the end of each day and not return within 48 hours.

In 2012, city councilors approved the code change. Eleven years later, current city councilors say it needs to be updated.

According to city staff, an update would allow permitted mobile food vendors on public or private property, and a separate permit is not required for a vendor operating under a city-approved special event permit.

Charisse Deschenes, Sequim’s deputy city manager/director of community development and economic development, said they’ve had to move the council’s planned public hearing to July 10 in order to follow a review by the Department of Commerce, and a 14-day comment period for the State Environment Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Non-significance (DNS).

Comments regarding the DNS must be sent to Deschenes (c/o City of Sequim, 152 W. Cedar St., Sequim, WA 98382) by June 8.

In an interview, Deschenes said city staff asked about waiving the SEPA review but that they’re unable to, and the comment period must be finished before a public hearing can be held.

She said they’ll look to move the June 20 planning commission meeting to June 27 to accommodate a public hearing prior to making a final recommendation to the council on the ordinance.

After being directed by the city council in January to make a code revision, the planning commission held multiple meetings in February and March, including a March 21 meeting where most public speakers spoke in favor of a code change.

Councilors also agreed on May 8 to hold a public hearing despite being unsure if it was required at the time.

Deschenes said in addition to the SEPA comment period, community members can comment at meetings prior, too.

Currently, the city only has one permitted mobile food vendor, Ulivo Pizzeria, a business that operates under code provisions at Blue Sky Realty.

Other mobile food vendors in the city may have been seen in recent years operating under special event permits, Deschenes said.