Wednesday, June 08, 2016


Ignoring two distant restaurant business owners -- cognitive misers against dining competition -- St. Johns County Commissioners voted 4-0 June 7th to approve a food truck village between the cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach. Congratulations to Brendan Schneck and Kelly Hazouri! Thanks to Commissioners Jeb Smith, Priscilla Bennett, Jay Morris and William McClure for doing the right thing, and for the PZA voting 6-0 to endorse the rezoning.

St. Johns County commissioners pave way for food truck village near beach

Posted: June 8, 2016 - 12:11am | Updated: June 8, 2016 - 7:06am

St. Johns County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a rezoning request at 1480 Old A1A S. that will allow for a mobile food truck vending village in close proximity to St. Augustine Beach.

Commissioner Jimmy Johns was not in attendance.

Applicant and property owner Brendan Schneck, who also owns Big Island Bowls food truck, told commissioners his concept plan exceeded building requirements and had majority support from neighbors.

Schneck said the Cedar Tree Food Truck Garden will include lush vegetation for curb appeal and sufficient parking and facilities while bringing a new, emerging business model into the area.

Schneck’s plan includes construction of a 1,000-square-foot commissary kitchen with restrooms and a waste facility. The site will also be developed with six pad spaces for mobile food vendors, 57 outdoor seats and 19 parking spaces. Five existing trees, including a large cedar, also made it into the concept plan as landscape features. Connections to central water and sewer will be provided by the St. Johns County Utility Department.

In terms of operations, food trucks will be stationary during the week, with some occasional off-site weekend travel for events. Vendors would be allowed to lease the spaces for as long as they wish.

The currently vacant property has existing vehicular access from Old A1A S. and Old Beach Road.

The surrounding area mainly consists of commercial businesses along the intersection of State Road A1A South and State Road 312/A1A Beach Boulevard including McDonald’s, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Aqua East Surf Shop, SAFE Pet Rescue and Atlantic Automotive & Quick Lube. However, existing development also includes single-family residential units immediately adjacent to the east.

Residents speaking in support of the project touted the benefits of bringing in a variety of healthier food choices to the area and making room for an emerging industry.

Some residents and brick-and-mortar restaurant owners spoke in opposition to the project, citing concerns with the proposed amount of activity for the 0.59-acre lot size and possible inequities that come with the type of establishment.

Daryl Perritt, owner of Smokin’ D’s BBQ at the corner of U.S. 1 and County Road 206, asked commissioners to postpone voting until guidelines for all food vendors in St. Johns County are established and/or clarified.

“The change here, in effect, is six restaurants on half an acre of property,” he said,

Perritt questioned whether something equivalent to such a proposal as one common kitchen and set of bathrooms for six businesses would be acceptable for brick-and-mortar establishments.

“Before you unplug this genie, my recommendation is that, this looks like a great project, but you should postpone it until the staff and the industry has an opportunity to decide what the guidelines are that apply to all the food vendors in St. Johns County,” he said. “Whatever applies to one food vendor, please apply that to all vendors.”

Kelly Hazouri, co-owner of Big Island Bowls, said the project would not only “transform the blemish of a vacant lot,” but fix an inequity for local food truck owners.

“We’re paying impact fees and taxes like other restaurants,” she said. “Food trucks are already allowed in St. Johns County. We’re simply trying to make it more organized.”

Schneck said food trucks are held to the same standards as traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants and that his business is compliant.

Commissioner Rachael Bennett said she thought the concept was an appropriate one for the beach community.

“I, for one, am grateful they’re dragging us into the 21st century,” she said. “This is a real opportunity.” ….

Augustino 06/08/16 - 09:10 am 00Hooray!
Hurrah for tasty, healthy food!

Açaí and dragon fruit bowls are the sun and the wave!

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