WOODSTOCK - Plans for a food truck park on Market Street have been stalled as city planning commission members seek to learn more about a business model that's never been done before in Woodstock.
Anita and Ken Corsini, the couple behind Red Barn Homes and the stars of HGTV's reality show "Flip or Flop Atlanta," are also the owners of a half-acre lot at the corner of Market Street and Dupree Road. They've proposed to develop the property, currently zoned for medium density residential use, into a food truck lot with a maximum of six trucks at a time, rotating throughout the year.
The plan also includes a barn-like building to house a walk-up bar as well as restrooms. It calls for a mostly gravel lot with some paved areas near parking, around the food trucks and at the building. A total of 15 parking spaces are drawn on renderings of the site, with plans to use two on-street spaces.
In a separate request, the applicants ask that the downtown entertainment district extend down Market Street to their property.
They are requesting at least 10 variances, including having a parking lot in front of the building, the lot made of gravel, and glass garage doors proposed for the building facade.
The Corsinis first publicly presented their request for a rezoning to downtown central business district to planning commissioners Thursday, facing opposition by neighbors immediately around the intersection.
Anita Corsini said they hope to create a gathering place for people of different walks of life.
"There’s not a lot of quick food options in downtown Woodstock. I want to be able to get something to eat and walk with it. To be able to get something quick and easy would be an added value, and something new and different that’s not readily available at this point," she said. "I think food tucks offer variety and the unexpected, and people like that."
Two of the half dozen public speakers opposed to the project lived in homes next to the property. Some expressed concerns about the barn facility's maintenance, parking and the gravel lot. Others cited bad experiences with food truck parks in the Atlanta area. Two of the public speakers against the park were downtown Woodstock business owners: Randy Altmann of the Copper Coin and Cliff Crider, a co-founder of Truck & Tap.
Parking was an issue for all of the speakers.
"Nights, especially weekends, there are no parking spaces for residents to come in and park," said Don Bell, who lives near the site of the proposed food truck park.
Commissioner Robert Tidwell said that while he was "intrigued" by the idea, the commissioners didn't have enough information to make a decision on the case, citing questions about foot and car traffic to a potential food truck park, and the effects of that traffic on the downtown area. Commissioner Renee Gable agreed. The commissioners voted unanimously to table the case.
"I think what you’re hearing tonight is not a huge objection to the concept, but there’s a lot of questions that are just not answered yet. It makes it very difficult to determine what the potential impacts are. So we can’t figure out is this a good thing or a bad thing for the community and balance that with your rights as a property owner, and that’s our central task. To put it into an analogy, the food truck needs to go back to to commissary and cook a little while, and then come back," said Planning Commission Chairman James Drinkard to the Corsinis. "Work on some of those answers and let’s come back and take a look at it, and then we can make a proper determination."