DURHAM — A local food truck can continue to operate, but the owner needs to submit an updated site map to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
On Wednesday, the commission unanimously approved an application for a non-conforming use permit by Katie Hughes-Nelson, owner of food truck Perk on Wheels, to serve its menu of crepes and coffee while parked in front of DariServ, 13 Main St. It began operating at the site on Dec. 26, shortly after it closed its storefront location.
Hughes-Nelson said she and property owner Bob Pavlick agreed she can use the location until the ice cream shop opens for the season, a date which is dependent on the weather.
“We’re hoping that it allows us to maintain a presence in Durham,” Hughes told commission members.
Perk has brick-and-mortar locations in Middletown and Guilford.
Commission members had to determine whether it was an expansion or an intensification of a non-conforming use; intensification is permitted, expansion is not.
“As long as this facility was not open the same time as the DariServ was open, it would not be considered expansion, it would be considered an intensification,” PZC chairman Richard Eriksen said.
PZC members raised concerns about approving a permit for a food truck, citing past problems with food trucks that didn’t apply for permits and caused unanticipated traffic and safety issues.
“It sets a precedent that could really come back and bite us,” David Foley said.
PZC member Matthew Thompson said it could allow property owners to “sublet, so to speak, to someone who isn’t who want to be there.”
As part of the permit approval, Hughes-Nelson must submit an updated site map showing where the truck will be parked, its size, and other information.