City Council Takes Second Look at Food Trucks

The council will also consider measures to protect public and environmental health at Pinto Lake Park.

After two weeks of collecting feedback from downtown restaurateurs, the Watsonville City Council will again be advised to approve a food truck meet-up near the City Plaza on Friday and Saturday nights.

Council members had considered the food truck plan in late September, but told city staff they would like to explore expanding the proposed hours of 9 p.m. to midnight.

Staff reached out to local restaurants operating within two or three blocks of Peck Street, where the trucks would park, to see how a larger window for the  food truck events would impact the businesses. City council members had asked that food truck vendors start serving earlier—8 p.m. on Fridays and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

"Strong objections were heard at several of the restaurants visited," according to a staff report prepared by Marcela Tavantzis, Assistant City Manager. She said many of the restaurants are struggling to stay open.

The restaurants visited reported they are open until at least 8 p.m. and some don't close until 10 p.m. They were most comfortable with a 9 p.m. start time for the food trucks, Tavantzis reported.

Therefore, the staff report will advise the city council let food trucks park on Peck Street from 9 p.m. on beginning Oct. 19.

In other business, the city council will consider measures to improve communication with the public about dangerous levels of toxins in .

Blue green algal blooms, caused by high nutrient levels in the lake’s water and sediments, create high levels of toxins in the lake. City staff monitors those levels and, if the proposal before the Watsonville City Council is approved, would start posting bilingual fliers when the levels spike.

City staff would also start working with county health officials to determine if it's safe to eat fish that are caught in the lake, as fishing is a favorite activity at Pinto Lake.

The city council meets ta 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, fourth floor of 275 Main St.

Doc October 09, 2012 at 02:45 PM
This city council has its own agenda and has never been known to take public or business input seriously anyway. It will be interesting to see what their decision will be regarding the catering trucks.
aptospirate October 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
lets see gangs threating citizens killings spreading, But no govt education to kids on where drug money goes or the cost of our jails being filled, You are worried about a kid scoring an unathorized buritto !!! give me a break yep keep voting for democrats soon gas will 10 a gallon and along with it inflation will make your dollar worth about a dime. Yes it takes fuel to get YOUR foood to a store, unless we all end up at second harvest. Keep voting democrat they have done such a good job to this state !! All aboard the train to bankruptcy !!
Merrie October 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
The city needs to clean up the downtown area first. How can we attract people to watsonville, if it's dirty. These businesses, especially restaurants need to be held responsible for the walkway in the front of their businesses and always have it clean. Have you seen the sidewalks lately. Downtown businesses are struggling to stay open. The day the city went walking around to find out how area businesses are doing, did they bother to go to all the businesses that are for sale to see how they are doing and to see what was the reason for trying to sell their business?
Doc October 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Downtown is pretty disgusting and third-worldish. I never eat down there anyway since there are no restaurants that really interest me - well, besides Second Street Cafe, they are really good. I definitely would not be caught dead (figuratively OR literally) downtown between 9 P.M. and midnight.
Cathy P. October 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I don't think downtown Watsonville is disgusting, there are some beautiful historic buildings and some nice -and potentially better- public spaces for everyone to share and enjoy, but it does have a major image problem. Since the Loma Prieta earthquake, downtown has deteriorated and no one in city leadership from then on has had a clue about how to revive it. Now with the economy basically in the toilet, there's no money to do anything (even if city leadership got a clue). A business to replace Gottschalk's should be top priority and as well as a commitment to just saying no to more dollar & crap stores. While Watsonville will never be a Portland or a Seattle, allowing food trucks downtown is a great idea! The existing brick and mortar restaurants don't have anything to worry about because the customers for both venues are looking for a specific "dining" experience; does the weekly Farmer's Market take significant business away from the fruit stands and grocery stores in town? Hardly. What is the harm in giving it a try (not the 9-midnight suggestion) so everyone can judge for themselves?
sandra October 09, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Cathy P. I agree with you!
Merrie October 09, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The city needs to start bringing businesses that will help make this a place where people will want to shop downtown during the DAY! We need more quality stores. We need to have businesses have unique storefronts, and make them attractive to one passing by. The windows should always be nice and clean. Just some simple techniques to help the downtown attract people that want to spend some money.
David H. Perez October 09, 2012 at 07:34 PM
@Sara - I know what you are talking about when you referred to the "demographic" of Watsonville, but the way the term "diversity" is misinterpreted in Watsonville is the problem. Since the largest demographic in Watsonville is Latino, does that mean we can only have Latino businesses? What about the many folks who live here that are not Latino? Are they just irrelevant? I see Latinos, including myself, frequenting some of our local Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and American restaurants. And needless to say, we have some of the best Mexican restaurants I have seen anywhere. Isn't that what diversity is all about - that we can enjoy each others' cultures without one culture dominating and demanding ownership of everything? Thirty years ago, one oppressive culture did dominate here, and that was wrong. Now a different culture seeks to oppress and dominate. Is that any more right? The only way we are going to attract business and money to Watsonville is if everyone is equally welcomed and accepted as part of the larger community, and the true meaning of the word diversity is honored.
David H. Perez October 09, 2012 at 07:36 PM
@Merrie - And we need a VARIETY of stores and restaurants that will attract a variety of people from outside of Watsonville - not just low income people.
Merrie October 09, 2012 at 07:43 PM
David, your right! We need to bring people that work all year long, not 6 months and get unemployment for 6 months.
Metric October 09, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I do have to agree with you. I was born and raised in Watsonville. I just returned after spending the last 10 years in down town San Francisco. I was also a restaurant owner in San Francisco and saw the introduction of food trucks. I had mixed feelings but got to see that they ultimately drove more people with expendable cash to an area. Only those who have spent decades in this city will really have a true perspective on how it has changed and grown. Those who complain about how it's discussing will probably never be satisfied with small progress. It would benefit downtown to have a bit more diversity in restaurants and getting something done with the gottschalks building. I did always enjoy going to the fox theater to see a movie and have a pizza.
Watzon McWats October 09, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Downtown is seriously lacking in many areas, but I ride my bike down there late at night all the time and never have any issues. I can count the number of businesses that interest me on one hand, but it is still a beautiful place to be with all the historical buildings, city plaza, vintage hot dog stand, public art projects, etc. I'd rather hang out in downtown Santa Cruz or downtown Monterey, but I certainly don't feel unsafe in Watsonville.
Watzon McWats October 09, 2012 at 08:07 PM
My hopes are that having people downtown late at night might encourage more of the brick and mortar shops and eateries to stay open later. If they play it right with nice paint jobs and trendy food, perhaps they'll attract a more progressive audience which will in turn attract more progressive - modern businesses that cater to a diverse audience (e.g. Nacho Mamas, Yogurtland, the defunct Wingstop, etc, etc.) Not everyone in Watsonville wants cowboy hats, calling cards, and check cashing.
Cathy P. October 09, 2012 at 08:31 PM
@Metric: I loved seeing a movie at the Fox theater, it was like going back in time. So sad it's gone...
Daniel Skeen October 09, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Those of you that have lived in Watsonville for a while may remember a time when Thursday nights was a major shopping event down town with all the stores staying open late and Fords acted as an anchor store to the thirty some small business downtown. It was as much a social event as mach as a shopping time and you were bound to run into your neighbors. No one gave a second though as to their safety while downtown in the evening. That's long gone but several small towns in the area, such as Morgan Hill, have brought their old downtowns back to life and have a pleasant night time safe experiences. A major anchor store maybe needed to make this happen and a coordinated effort buy the city government would be required. The question is can the people of Watsonville elect the people to get the job done?
Metric October 09, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Anyone know what the status is of the gottschalks building? How about the manbe-ow project design that was supposed to be delivered sept 12th?
Merrie October 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Hopefully the gottchalks building will be rented soon. I heard the owner of the gottchalks building just purchased the building where chopstixs was. Maybe he has something in the works. Who knows!
David H. Perez October 09, 2012 at 11:16 PM
@Daniel Skeen - I was not born and raised in Watsonville, but have lived here for 25 years. I have heard from friends who were born and raised here that this town was really something back in the day. I often ask myself, "What happened?" I love what Morgan Hill has done with their downtown. My wife and I also frequent downtown Half Moon Bay, another small coastal town. They have a wonderful downtown full of quaint shops and restaurants, and we have felt totally safe there even while enjoying the night life. The architecture there is nowhere near as beautiful as that of downtown Watsonville. Still, walking the streets of downtown Half Moon Bay, my wife and I often ask each other, "Why can't we have this at home?"
Cathy P. October 10, 2012 at 03:21 PM
@Daniel: "The question is can the people of Watsonville elect the people to get the job done?" --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ABSOLUTELY, stay tuned....
HizDesign October 11, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Agree re: not taking business away from restaurants.....if a person wants to head to say, Phil's Fish Market for dinner, and they pass a "Seafood Caught FRESH" on the highway nearby, they don't suddenly change their mind, pull over, and eat there instead. Someone on the way to Appleby's isn't likely to pull off the road for a Burger & Fries Food truck.
HizDesign October 11, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The people of Watsonville can elect, however we are limited to those who are running.....:) so, another question might be, Who among the people of Watsonville will RUN?
Mmmm hmmmm October 21, 2012 at 05:24 AM
"Downtown is pretty disgusting and third-worldish. I never eat down there anyway since there are no restaurants that really interest me - well, besides Second Street Cafe, they are really good. I definitely would not be caught dead (figuratively OR literally) downtown between 9 P.M. and midnight." DOC- if you think that Watsonville's downtown is disgusting and third-worldish then why don't you move to Beverly Hills or CarmeL? I'm sure you'll find plenty on the menu catering to your caucasian palette. YOu wanna diss our town and call it terrible things, then GET OUT!!! No one's stopping you... This is a migrant town, fulla Mexicanos... that's why theres taco trucks... If our town were filled w/ Italians, then we'd see lotsa Italian restaurants. Go LIVE where you feel safe. I don't personally feel safe living around a bunch of biggot racists who think locking up our youth is the panacea to the false hype that people like DOC have created. U think it's unsafe to be in our town from 9-midngiht, then by all means STAY HOME, good writtens! I don't wanna run into YOU!


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