Canby city staff is preparing language that would go toward an ordinance that could allow carts in the future

With each joint meeting of the Canby City Council and Canby Planning Commission, the prospect of food carts and food cart pods inches ever closer. But at best, it's going to be a while.

The two entities engaged in a mutual work session Nov. 3 to see what common ground the many perspectives could reach. It was a meeting filled with ideas, concerns and the chance to push the prospect of food carts in Canby a little way down the tracks to reality.

"This was the second joint meeting between council and the planning commission to discuss carts and pods," City Administrator Scott Archer said. "The first was 'Are we interested in pursuing this?' The answer was basically, 'Yes.'"

FILE PHOTO: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - The future of food carts and food cart pods continues to be a work in progress for the City of Canby.

And with that, Archer and his staff brought back a presentation with "some more formed ideas and what the language might look like" for food carts in Canby.

"The Council and Planning Commission were both interested in bringing back draft language to start the formation of an ordinance," Archer continued. "It will take a while, anywhere from several weeks to a few months to bring back the draft ordinance. And that will begin the official process that may potentially lead to legislative action by the Council."

The issue is much deeper than simply letting a food cart or carts pop up in Canby. There are ordinances that must be created or amended for not only individual food carts, but any food cart pods that may be created.

"Individual food carts, where can they be?" Archer said. "The pods, where would we locate those and how would that work? There are a lot of ideas around that and what are the aesthetics surrounding all of this?

"Basically, there seemed to be a good, strong sense of support," Archer added. "There are varying ideas of what this will look like, but we've got some pretty good examples from other communities. Staff did a great job."

Economic Development Director Jamie Stickel is hip-deep in working through the many aspects of the food cart issue, while Associate Planner Brianna Addotta, who worked on this type of ordinance for the City of Beaverton, is the lead planner working on Canby's future with food carts, according to Archer.

The conversation about food carts and food cart pods was "a good conversation," according to Archer, and city staff will dig in to create language that may help push it along.

"What's kind of changed in the last several years is that when (food carts) first started, Portland was the big catalyst," Archer explained. "But as they kind of got out into outlying areas, there used to be a perception that they would draw away from the brick-and-mortar businesses. But we've kind of turned the corner on that – energy begets more energy – it brings more business into the area. So, (food carts) are now looked at as bringing more in."

Archer said the process will take time and that sometime in 2022, the ordinance should be ready to go. And when that happens, Stickel has indicated there are food cart owners ready to cast their lot with Canby.

"Staff will do our job and bring it back and follow up on what the council and planning commission are interested in knowing," Archer said. "The other piece is regulation of this and how we permit them. We haven't developed that either. I'd foresee it moving forward where there is some legislation in place in 2022."

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