Possibility Of Late Night Food Trucks Being Looked At By Saugatuck City Council
Could food trucks be coming to the City of Saugatuck? They may well be if they operate after 10 p.m. and there is a limited number of them.
At least that is the thought expressed by some city leaders during Monday night’s meeting in their response to Holland resident Chris VanLiere’s proposal.
“It just happens every night; after ten o’clock, there is no food. There is a void I believe I can fill,” VanLiere told council about how local restaurants stop serving food after that time.
VanLiere has been part of the restaurant business all his life, currently bartending at Wally’s Bar & Grill in Saugatuck. His mother, Jan VanLiere, created Chaps in downtown Douglas in 1998 and ran it for 10 years.
“Before I spend money on refurbishing and equipping my truck, I need to discuss it with you people,” he said, assuring the council that he would only operate after restaurants stopped serving, and he would start next spring if he got the green light from the city.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Saugatuck Mayor Pro Tem Chris Peterson, echoing other colleagues. The council said it will go over the food truck issue at a future workshop.
Across the Blue Star Highway Bridge, the City of Douglas’ experiment in 2013 with one street food vendor turned very sour.
Despite strong opposition from local businesses, officials there gave Odie Dogs, a hot dog cart business, a one-year permit to occupy two parking spaces in front of Beery Field in 2013.
Odie Dogs owner Eric Chaitin told city leaders he wanted to offer the public lunch options because there were very few in Douglas, claiming that it would attract visitors and locals alike.
But the opposition made claims, among others, that the activity would be difficult to regulate and unlike brick-and-mortar buildings, Odie Dogs wouldn’t be subjected to property tax.
“The feeling I’ve gotten from a minority of people is one of great unwelcome. The spirit of the letters addressed to council (from a number of business community members) contained information not based in numerical facts, but contradictory passion,” Chaitin told the Douglas City Council following the 2013 summer season.
Chaitin was on an incubator program designed to take his business into a full-fledged brick-and-mortar operation on Center Street. Instead of opening a restaurant in Douglas, he said he would take his business to Holland.
With regards to Saugatuck, “Right now, the city ordinance doesn’t allow for food trucks,” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier told his council, “but it was definitely “doable” during after hours.”