Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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2 food trucks cited
Prior HARC approval not given

Two food trucks, one on Duval Street and the other at a Truman Avenue corner, have been cited by city code enforcement for opening up without prior approval by the Historic Architectural Review Commission.

Yebo Island Grille, 629 Duval St., and White Street Station, 1127 Truman Ave., may remain open for business but could face fines if found in violation after a hearing, the code enforcement director Jim Young said Wednesday.

At issue for both food trucks, the citation says, is a failure to obtain HARC approval as either a minor or major development in Key West's historic district.

White Street Station, known for its chicken-based Rotisserie Reuben, burgers and mac and cheese sandwiches, and owned by restaurateur Michael Wilson, still needs building and electrical permits, according to code officer Paul Nickle, who cited the business on Thursday.

Yebo Island Grille, whose menu includes tacos and burritos, and is run by Joel Dos Santos, also has portable signs that are banned in the historic district, code officer Leo Hernandez found March 29.

Both owners are due to appear at the 1:30 p.m. code compliance hearing set for April 23 at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.

Wilson on Wednesday said he didn't want to comment on the case until after the hearing, while Yebo's private planner questioned whether HARC had any jurisdiction over food trucks.

Yebo in September won unanimous approval by the planning board for a minor development plan to build some structures around the food truck for seating, structures and ADA-compliant restrooms.

But HARC members were dismayed by the proposal, and the city's preservation planner said it was inappropriate for the neighborhood and the item has been postponed five times since October.

Those plans, however, don't concern the food truck, which has a mobile vendor licence and is registered with the state, said private planner Owen Trepanier.

"We don't believe there is any regulation about the food truck itself," said Trepanier. "It's the development we're not allowed to do."

Trepanier said HARC governs architectural plans.

"Not the kind or type or color of a vehicle," Trepanier said.

Food trucks, a phenomenon in parts of the nation, are relatively new in Key West.

City planners have asked for a freeze on accepting applications for new food trucks for up to six months so they can draw up specific regulations for them.

The planning board has that item on its agenda for its 6 p.m. Thursday meeting, having postponed it last month.


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