Food Truck Feeding Frenzy: Making Sense of Mobile Food Vending

Food Truck Feeding Frenzy: Making Sense of Mobile Food Vending

Food Truck Feeding Frenzy: Making Sense of Mobile Food Vending Link: Slides from the APA Conference Presentation by Rod Arroyo Recent economic and cultural trends show an explosion in the popularity of food trucks, or mobile vendors, over the past several years. According to research done by Emergent for the National Restaurant Association, the growth of mobile food trucks will soar in the next five years, generating up to $2.7 billion in revenue nationally by 2017—up from $650 million in 2012 (Emergent Research 2012). All across the country, cities, small towns, and suburbs are seeing food trucks popping up, some in unexpected places like office and industrial parks, where zoning ordinances typically preclude restaurants. Amplifying the push for food trucks are the twin trends of “buying local” and “food-as-entertainment” that are enhanced by programs such as the Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. While ice cream trucks and job-site lunch wagons haven’t disappeared, they are increasingly being joined by gourmet trucks and trucks specializing in ethnic offerings. All across the United States, people are exploring how mobile food vending might make a difference in their lives and their communities. More resources are starting to become available for potential business owners. Networks for mobile food vendors are growing; the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association was formed in 2010 as one of the first associations dedicated to helping vendors break down barriers to business (www.socalmfva.com). And, in Fall 2013, Roam — a first ever industry conference for mobile food suppliers and owners— took place in Portland, Oregon. What Is Mobile Food Vending? Regulatory codes for many communities recognize...

Better Zoning Using Innovative Formats and Place-based Regulations

Municipalities can improve customer service and enhance placemaking by giving zoning ordinances a tune-up Zoning codes have come under fire over the last 25 years for many reasons ranging from the resulting development patterns they create (mandating sprawl) to the confusing language (legalese) used in these documents.   This can lead to a host of negative impacts for a municipality.  Some impact day-to-day operations and others last for generations to come. The sprawl issue has been partially addressed through the use of form-based codes (FBC) – a method to regulate development to achieve a specific form.  These codes are prescriptive in nature, leading to specific requirements that help build walkable urban places.  For example, instead of specifying a minimum setback requirement for buildings, a build-to line or build-to zone is established that requires the front of the building to be close to the public sidewalk.  FBC will also address building fenestration so that adequately sized and proportioned windows are properly placed to encourage the interaction of the private realm (the building) with the public realm (the sidewalk and street).  If a pedestrian looks through a window and sees merchandise displays, dining or entertainment, there is a reason stop and look and also to keep walking in search of more of the same type of experience.  If there are blank walls or boring office spaces, they will likely turn around. If zoning code language is improved through enhancing standard (Euclidean) zoning districts or form-based code regulations, it still may be confusing if the format of the zoning code is not updated. Zoning codes can be enhanced by better graphics, formatting,...

Project Tango – New Google Device Creates 3D Maps

Google 3D mapping provides urban planning possibilities Google’s Advanced Technology And Projects (ATAP) program called Project Tango now has a new mobile device that tracks 3D motion and maps user environments.  The current prototype is a 5” phone that tracks the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the surrounding environment.  The end result is a 3D model of the space around you. According to Google’s web site for this project, here are some of the possibilities: What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store? For planners, a trip to a benchmark development – e.g., successful downtown, new sports stadium, etc. – would result in a 3D model that could be shared with others.  The magic of the place could then be more effectively understood by people that have never been there.  The possibilities for application across multiple platforms are endless. Here is a link to the Google site: http://www.google.com/atap/projecttango/ <...

Overlay Zoning – A Zoning Tool for Implementing Plans and Policies

Use of zoning overlay districts can be innovative ordinance tool for cities Overlay Districts are in many ways like any zoning district – they provide development regulations within a specified boundary. These districts are special zones that lie on top of existing zoning districts to modify the underlying district requirements. An overlay zone may or may not match the boundaries of an underlying zoning district. Overlay zones typically provide a higher level of regulation (more restrictive) than the existing zoning classification, but they can also permit exceptions or be less restrictive.  In cases where conflicting standards are given by an overlay district and the underlying zoning category, those of the overlay district typically control. Overlay districts are used to accomplish a variety of goals.  They are usually prompted by recommendations or policies in a community’s master plan or a special study.  Examples of goals related to overlay regulations include water quality protection, traffic safety / access management, appearance standards, signs, historic preservation, building height, and land use.  For example, an overlay district may permit greater building height or additional land uses if certain conditions are met. Basic Steps to Create a New Overlay District  Establish a policy framework through a planning study or master plan update.  Spatially define the area of the overlay district. What is the basis for the boundaries? Consider whether the same policy framework could be achieved through amendment to a zoning district or a new district. Review and answer these important questions:   How will the new standards guide development in a way that reflects the vision and/or policy?  What will the overlay district regulate and...
In the Beginning, there was a Plan….

In the Beginning, there was a Plan….

Troy Building Boom Started with an Innovative Plan A December 2013 article in Crain’s Detroit highlighted the successful redevelopment taking place in the City of Troy – a building boom – and explored how form-based codes have shaped this new development. Before the new zoning standards, however, there had to be a plan. Indeed, the City of Troy was honored by both the Michigan Association of Planning and the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for its Big Beaver Corridor Study, completed in 2007. It is this plan that created the vision for the boulevard and directed the development of the City’s form-based code. Back in 2005, the City of Troy recognized that the suburban development patterns that defined the City had reached its peak in terms of commercial development along major corridors, and was headed towards becoming a place with limited development potential for the 21st Century. Specifically, Big Beaver Road, home to international businesses and the most upscale mall in the region, presented a classic example of post-World War II suburban development.  Characterized by a high volume traffic highway and standardized single-use zoning of adjacent properties, it represented the planning philosophy of that era.  It was time for a new approach to development. The City retained the services of Clearzoning, Inc. (then known as Birchler Arroyo Associates), a planning and transportation firm who partnered with the award-winning landscape architecture firm, Grissim Metz Andriese, designer Dave Peterhans, and  market research firm, The Chesapeake Group. The Planning Team determined that the City envisioned a bold new direction – to create a “world class boulevard” that would...