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FARMINGTON – A draft policy to standardize guidelines and procedures for mobile food vendors operating in city parks drew minimal public input during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Under the draft policy, vendors would apply for a commercial park use permit from the city in order to operate in a specific location in city parks. The proposal would also establish a fee schedule, application process and hours when vendors could operate.

Tonya Stinson, executive director of the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, told councilors the bureau supports the policy.

“We’ve always been excited about having more offerings and activities in our city parks,” she said.

Stinson’s comment was the only one that focused on the proposed policy. Other comments centered on matters pertaining to operating food trucks on private property and distributing food to homeless individuals in city parks.

Councilor Mary Fischer said she remains concerned about food trucks currently being allowed to operate near residential areas because of potential health impacts.

“I’m still concerned about the problems these trucks can create in neighborhoods during the food preparation,” Fischer said.

Councilor Nate Duckett said he received a complaint about a food truck operating on private property close to residences. He suggested the city’s parks, recreation and cultural affairs department, which would manage the draft policy, examine the way other cities have handled such issues.

“Durango has had an explosion of food trucks, so how are they dealing that?” Duckett said.

Department Director Cory Styron said if the draft policy is implemented, it would allow the department to manage those issues, set a uniform process and provide an additional opportunity for economic development.

“We’re going to have control over exactly where they get to set up,” Styron said.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the council agreed to leave the possible implementation of the policy up to the department and indicated there is no need for the matter to return to the council for approval.

Councilors also heard an end-of-the-season report about the Farmington Growers Market, which ended on Oct. 31.

The market, which was established in 1991 and is operated by a vendor- and community-based board of directors, operates Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park during the spring, summer and early fall.

Board Secretary Bonnie Hopkins said the market was open for 38 days this season and had 18,623 customers.

Among other developments, the market started accepting payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Double Up Food Bucks program. The two programs generated $6,470 for vendors, Hopkins said, adding the board appreciates the support of the City Council and the city.

The council also was informed fire department personnel are operating from the new Farmington Fire Department Station 1 at 301 N. Auburn Ave.

A public grand opening will take place after the holidays, City Manager Rob Mayes said.

Councilors also voted to cancel the Dec. 22 regular meeting due to the Christmas holiday.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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