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Food truck opening despite citizen objection, debate to continue at June 7 meeting

Wellesley council is taking a wait and see approach on the issue of food trucks and where they fall under township bylaws.

Tara Schneider, a Wellesley resident, appeared before council on April 26, questioning the legality of a food truck that has been recently placed at the Wellesley Service Centre at 1220 Queen’s Bush Road.

She had questions surrounding what bylaws the new business would fall under, and whether current legislation permitted the food truck to open.

There is a public meeting scheduled for the June 7 council meeting to deal with the subject, however, the food truck in question plans to open before the public meeting date.

Schneider hired a private consultant to look at the location, the bylaws and the food truck, and he had determined that the business was illegal – an opinion she agreed with and used to back her position.

“The truck does not meet existing bylaws,” she told councilors and staff. “Our bylaws state exactly how the land is to be used. What then is this trailer’s proposed use on this private property? This trailer does not meet any of our defined permitted uses in the urban commercial zone. And I cannot emphasize this enough: if the bylaws are silent, if a use is not defined, if a use is not a permitted use with a zone, then it cannot be considered a permitted use.”

CAO Rik Louwagie reminded Schneider that there was a public meeting scheduled to deal with this very topic.

“That is presumably a meeting for public discussion for future mobile food trucks or food trailers or refreshment vehicles. I am only here to talk this evening about the trailer that is opening for business next weekend,” said Schneider. “My opinion, based on [hired consultant’s opinion] is that it is illegal and it shouldn’t be allowed to open for business.”

Mayor Nowak informed Schneider that the food truck’s legality has been up for discussion in previous weeks, and it was determined that the business was in line with current laws.

“There have been discussions with staff, and at the time, with staff opinion, that the individual complied with what we had available at the time,” he said, mentioning that the decision could be challenged. “So, I think we have to go with what we have now, and you have every right to challenge that, and we will just have to see how it plays out.”

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. on May 10.

The food truck debate will be back on the agenda on June 7 with the public welcome to attend and have their say.

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6 comments
  1. This article refers to this trailer as a food truck, and that is incorrect. Under our bylaws – as the report points out – it is a Chip Wagon, and is not legally permitted. I’ve read the independent report, you can get a copy from Township staff or from your councillor. There is no confusion, this is a Chip Wagon. This stuff is all online. And as a resident living on QueensBush for years now, I’d like to know how this project has been allowed to move as far forward as it has. Hopefully now that Council has been involved and an independent report delivered to them, there will be some questions asked and a full review. Will Council act on it? or will they bury it? I think we should all start to be concerned about other errors being made as well, and if the Chip Wagon is allowed to open without a legal bylaw amendment, I’d have even more concerns about our Township liability – by allowing an illegal business to open if something goes wrong.

    “2.33 CHIP WAGON means either a mobile or immobile vehicle either mounted on blocks or supported by a conventional wheel, tire and axle system from which food items such as french fries, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, potato chips, chocolate bars, nuts and non-alcoholic beverages are offered for sale or sold to the public. Where stated as a permitted use, a Chip Wagon may only be permitted as an accessory use to the principal use on the subject property and is intended to remain on the subject lands for at least on a seasonal basis.”

  2. I was at the meeting for something else- what this resident said made sense. It appears either the township staff made a big mistake, or it is old boys’ network politics where bylaws don’t matter.

  3. Wow! Where is this concern coming from Tara? You woke up one day saw the Food Trailer and decided to hire a private consultant with your own money… to shut down a new business that brings choice and new competition for my food dollars? Clearly a hidden agenda…

  4. I have seen lots of businesses over the years come and go. As Wellesley has doubled or even tippled in size, it is time that some of our old bylaws from a hundred years ago change to except new things for our town. It seems that some people have a private or hidden agenda for personal gain to shut down a possible new business that in my opinion is good for our town. Imagine someone new passing through Wellesley on a nice summer day and getting some good smoked meat with locally grown vegetables. Sitting by the pond to enjoy their meal, maybe they will look around and see that the gas station sells pet products, nice cheese and ice cream. That there is a butcher shop just up the street and the bulk pantry that sells the best apple fritters and baked goods, and also has good hand crafted wooden toys. Imagine this person telling all their friends to check out Wellesley and all the local businesses and restaurants around town. On second thought your right, lets ban the food truck and all other businesses that are different or maybe similar to others already in town. I would like to think everyone in Wellesley is a good person, but maybe not. Seems like we are wasting a lot of time and resources trying to ban this food truck or other businesses . It would be nice if these people with all this free time and money would help out the families in this town that cant afford to send their kids to school with good winter coats or shoes.

  5. This article raises more questions than it answers:
    – Why is this private citizen so concerned? What is her motivation for raising this complaint?
    – Who is the “private consultant”? The citizens whole argument is based on the opinion of an unnamed consultant. Why haven’t they been named?
    – Did council or this newspaper consider the credentials of the consultant? Are the qualified and credible? Are readers of this article supposed to trust the consultants opinion as presented by the citizen?
    – Was council offered a report from the consultant? What did it say?
    – What does the owner of the food truck have to say about all this?
    It seems like this paper has published a one-sided story about the concerns of one single citizen, without presenting the context, researching the other sides of the issue or determining if the citizen’s legal opinion is correct.

  6. I was excited when I heard Descendants Brewery was going to build in Wellesley, but that fell through. I’m saddened to hear of residents hiring private consultants to prevent another business from opening. Is this city just limited to a single butcher, baker and candlestick maker? Majority of residents want more options and it seems that the town is doing it’s best to prevent new business from opening.

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