Aztec moves toward letting food trucks in parks

Hannah Grover
The Infinite BBQ trailer is pictured Nov. 16 at the Mesa Shopping Center off Butler Avenue and East Ute Street in Farmington. Aztec commissioners are considering allowing food truck vendors to operate in public spaces in the town.

AZTEC – Residents here could see food trucks and other commercial activities in public parks by this summer.

City commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the intent to adopt amendments to two ordinances that would enable food trucks or other commercial endeavors such as yoga classes to operate in public parks. Commissioners will take up the matter again in a few weeks.

The issue of food trucks in public locations has been something the city has been dealing with for the past few years.

Two weeks after a splash pad opened at Minium Park in 2012, an ice cream began operating in the park, and the city staff had to ask the truck to move, City Manager Josh Ray told commissioners during a work session on Tuesday.

While the parks are currently off limits to commercial operations, several food trucks operate within Aztec by renting private spaces where they can park their vehicles.

Food truck owner Jean Stein attended the work session even though she already has rented a space in front of Vanilla Moose, 1721 W. Aztec Blvd. Her business, Pretty Tasty, will celebrate its grand opening on April 18.

Stein's truck will serve breakfast burritos in the mornings and grilled cheese sandwiches in the afternoon. She decided to open the food truck after losing her job in the oilfield when the company she worked for closed.

"I have to find something to do to make a living," she said before the meeting.

If Aztec amends its ordinances, it will be following in Farmington's footsteps by allowing food trucks in parks. Farmington started allowing food trucks in designated spots in parks last month.

Like Farmington, Aztec is considering limiting the number of places and locations where food trucks can park. It is looking at having spots in Tiger Park, Riverside Park, the city complex area and Florence Park, as well as allowing vendor carts on Main Avenue as long as they were not located within 100 feet of a similar business. That means a food cart could not park within 100 feet of Rubio's.

"A push cart could be far less expensive to get your business started," Mayor Sally Burbridge said.

Library director Kate Skinner also expressed interest in having a place set aside near the Aztec Public Library for food trucks. She said people are always asking where the nearest restaurant is when they visit the library. She even has hopes for what type of food truck could locate there.

"We would love a coffee stand by the library because people always think coffee and books," she said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.