BRANSON, Mo. – Branson is the latest city to take up the issue of food truck regulations.
Currently, food trucks in Branson are nonexistent with the exceptions of special events and planned developments.
One such planned development, Bigfoot On The Strip, has city leaders weighing their options for the future.
“I think the community, and the Board of Alderman are definitely… excited about the idea of food trucks,” says Branson Planning and Development director, Joel Hornickel.
“We just want to make sure it’s regulated properly,” he says. “So we don’t go too far down the road and realize we’ve done something wrong.”
Hornickel says the Aldermen will use Bigfoot On The Strip’s plans for a food truck court as a test sample.
He says the developers of the project proposed regulations to board members, that could become a blueprint for a future ordinance.
The regulations include hookups for trucks on-site, a one-thousand gallon grease trap for every three trucks and a 48-person seating area.
“I would love the ability to have our food truck in a location, up in Branson, permanently,” says London Calling owner, Neil Gomme.
Gomme’s food truck operates primarily in Springfield, but he has had a special event permit for Branson in the past.
He says the permit wasn’t cost effective because he was only able to operate for three days.
“Because we cannot be there at specific times,” he says, “and we can’t be down there, all the time, when the people are there.”
Gomme says he prefers the freedom of being able to move his mobile business to different locations, but he’s sees the benefits of a food truck court.
“As we’ve seen at the food park here [in Springfield, customers] know where all the trucks are,” he says, “and can rely on them being there.”
Hornickel says the potential regulations are more strict than in some cities.
He says Branson wants to protect the money being invested by developers, and the funds being spent by the city on the “Downtown Streetscapes” and “Spirit of 76” projects.
“To make sure it’s done right,” he says, “and it compliments what people are doing.”
Hornickel says the city expects to hear both sides of the argument normally associated with the impacts of food trucks, on brick and mortar businesses.
He says the city will seek public input on down the road as it gets closer to developing a draft ordinance or amendment.