Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Oro Valley Takes a Step Toward Having Mobile Food Unit Courts

Oro Valley aims to create mobile food court regulations
“What we are shooting for is the more formal end of the spectrum.” 
These are the remarks of Town of Oro Valley Director of Planning Bayer Vella, as he introduced the idea to the Town Council of incorporating a mobile food unit court zoning concept into Oro Valley’s commercial regulations. Vella shared these insights with the council during a recent study session last week.

The town has no code for mobile food courts now
The Town has received a pre-application for introducing a mobile food unit court at Mercado del Rio on Pusch View Lane. The current code only pertains to minor food truck activities, such as one serving a construction site during lunchtime. Thus, that Town needs to add something in its code for this use so that the application can move forward.

Town staff wants an "upscale" concept embedded in the code
Vella aims to establish a code requirement that fosters the development of purposeful community meeting areas and offers permanent infrastructure for extended use. “The trucks would have a one year lease.” In simpler terms, Vella doesn’t want to merely permit the mobile food court concept on an undeveloped, unmanaged piece of land.

He recommended high standards [see panel below left] for the property to the Council, standards that would give the site the look [see panel right] of permanency; something that would be appropriate for Oro Valley.

Town council supports the need for the code and suggests areas for focus
Vice Mayor Barrett believes that having something that aligns with the community's needs and expectations would be advantageous. She is urging Vella to emphasize criteria for greenery and cleanliness. Additionally, both Vice Mayor Barrett and Councilmember Solomon stressed that the parking space requirements should not be overly burdensome, considering the nature of the business.

Several council members provided detailed feedback on the facility’s design, including aspects like shade structures. However, the majority appear to support the elevated design standards proposed by Vella. They also request that Vella collaborate with other organizations to gain insights from their experiences, such as reaching out to Wa Wa Lemonade.

A new to Oro Valley concept that could bring excitement to the community
Town staff's vision for a more formal and purposeful approach to mobile food unit courts in Oro Valley is a significant step toward enhancing the community's amenities. The need for a specific code to accommodate this concept is clear, and the support from various council members demonstrates the town's commitment to meeting the community's needs and expectations.
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