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Commission discusses limiting permitted food trailers to five

The Town of Unicoi Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals met for their monthly meetings on Monday, Dec. 8.
The Unicoi Planning Commission’s first order of business was to approve the Dollar General site plan. This was subject to the Board of Zoning Appeals granting a variance for the number of parking spaces. A motion was made to approve the site plan, however it would be subject to the Board of Zoning Appeals granting the variance.
In other news, the board continued a discussion on the ordinance regarding food carts and trailers. Last month, town planner Ross Phillips brought forth an example ordinance from the town of Jonesborough.
For Monday’s meeting, discussion was continued and each of the commissioners were presented with a sample ordinance to be discussed. The number of permitted food carts or trailers favored by most of the board members was five. These five slots for food carts and trailers will be based on a first-come, first-served basis. Phillips has also added a parking requirement to the ordinance, mandating that eight spaces be devoted to parking.
The board also discussed adding in an application fee for new trailers. The total cost, per discussion at the meeting, would be as follows: an administrative cost of $125, a building permit cost of $175 and a first year cost of $150, coming out to an upfront cost of $450 from the get-go with a cost of $150 each year after that.
Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch wanted to emphasize that it was important not to make it too difficult for food trailers to come to town.
“It takes a lot of ham sandwiches to turn a $300 profit,” said Lynch. “I don’t want to make it too tough on them.”
Lynch also wanted to make sure the ordinance included details about cleanliness. The idea of allowing a business 30 days following a notice to straighten up their situation was discussed.
No motion was made at any point during the discussion. The items brought to the floor for discussion were purely that – items for discussion. Town Recorder Larry Rea said that discussion will continue on into next month.
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In other business, the board discussed the situation of Robert Tipton. Tipton is looking to rebuild his residence following a fire and was on hand to get approval of his request to live in a camper while rebuilding his house.
While the board made no motion, the general consensus was to allow Tipton to live in the camper so long as apparent progress was being made on his residence. Rea instructed Tipton to come get a building permit the next day.
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The Board of Zoning Appeals meeting was held immediately following the Planning Commission meeting.
The two items on the agenda were to approve a variance for the number of parking spaces for the Dollar General site plan and to approve Robert Tipton’s request to live in a camper during the construction of his residence.
Dollar General requires 30 parking spaces and the variance was requesting such. Both items under new business passed approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.