The planning and zoning board met last night, September 16, at the municipal building. Chair Elton Smith and board members Bobby Thomas, Ray Caudle, and Marjorie Casey, as well as alternate member, J.C. Parrish, were present. Several citizens and community members also attended and at times took part in the discussions.
One of the main topics of discussion focused on food trucks. Apparently someone complained about a taco truck that operated briefly in Ramseur in the last few weeks, and code enforcement was called. Trouble is, Ramseur has no ordinance regarding food trucks or other short term businesses, so calling the code enforcement officer was a waste of money and only resulted in telling a business owner that Ramseur doesn’t welcome his or her business. That’s the wrong message for our community to be sending any business, large or small.
Food trucks are regulated by the county, and once permitted it is my understanding that they are allowed to operate anywhere in the county, provided they are not set up in a highway right-of-way and that they have the permission of the property owner. One board member stated that such businesses might present unfair competition to brick and mortar establishments, but other members and those in attendance pointed out that food trucks are beneficial to many businesses and public events because they draw a crowd.
The consensus in the room seemed to be that since the county already regulates and inspects these enterprises, perhaps it might be best to leave them alone unless they cause traffic issues or set up on private property without permission of the owners. Asking these and other temporary businesses to purchase a $300 special use permit as has been done to other similarly small enterprises in recent months is counterproductive and makes Ramseur seem even less business friendly than it already is. J.C. Parrish offered to collect information from surrounding municipalities so that the board can see how our neighbors manage this issue. I look forward to his findings at next month’s meeting.
A questionnaire that Jill Wood presented to the board members at last month’s meeting was also discussed last night. None present had filled it out or spent time discussing the topic with citizens. To help increase the likelihood of participation I offered to place a version of the survey online where it might be more easily accessed. Chair Elton Smith thought that was a good idea and hearing no opposition from those present asked me to proceed.
I have embedded the survey in the page below, or readers may click this link to open the survey in a new window. Please type your answers in the spaces provided, which will expand as needed, and click the submission button at the end. Names and email addresses are not being collected in this survey; all participants are anonymous. A link will be sent to Jill Wood that will allow her review the answers and present them to the planning and zoning board at her convenience. Those who prefer can print the original document and deliver their written answers to the municipal office using this link.
I hope all citizens of Ramseur, as well as members of the surrounding community, will take the time to offer their opinions. Write as much or as little as you feel necessary, and thank you for helping to guide our community forward into a brighter future.