One new business and one existing business seeking a new location were both granted permits at the Middletown Council meeting Monday night.
The new business is Kids @ Work Enrichment Center, a daycare planning to open in the space where another daycare had operated in the Cricklewood Grove shopping center on Summit Bridge Road on the south side of town.
Owner Kanesha Mosley was unanimously granted a conditional use permit by Council to open the business, after the Planning and Zoning Commission had also voted in favor of the permit.
Mosley said the center will be open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a maximum of 50 children, according to the stipulations of the permit and state regulations.
"We'll have ages 2 to 5 full time, and before- and after-school care for ages 6 to 10," said Mosley.
She also has plans for an outside play area.
"It will be fenced in prior to being occupied," she said, which is another requirement of the permit.
The existing business seeking a new location is Oh Phoebe's BBQ, a food truck owned by Clint Johnson.
Johnson's request to operate at Tractor Supply on Route 301 on the west side of town was unanimously granted by Council.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had also approved the request, but not without a delay because Johnson didn't attend the Commission's meeting the first time his request was on the agenda in June. Johnson said he submitted his $150 application fee for a conditional use permit, but he didn't know he had to attend the Planning and Zoning meeting, too.
His permit request was tabled until the July Planning and Zoning meeting, which was after the July Middletown Council meeting. Johnson had to wait until Monday's meeting to receive approval of Council to operate his food truck at Tractor Supply.
In December, town council began requiring mobile food vendors to seek a conditional-use permit before operating in the town's commercial districts. The new rules also limited mobile vendors to private property and required them to provide the town with written permission from property owners.
Those rules initially did not affect Johnson, who had previously received permission from the town and the property owner to operate at 225 W. Main St. on Saturdays and Sundays.
However, Farrell Roofing moved to West Lake Street in January. The owners of Lost and Found Again Consignment Shop, which moved into the former Farrell building in May, told Johnson he would no longer be able to use their parking lot to set up shop.
Johnson said he understands the reason for the mobile food vendor ordinance, but he thinks the town should be helping businesses instead of making it more difficult.
Page 2 of 2 - He said he had seen an announcement about a state program offering rent-free locations temporarily to new businesses.
"It shows there's a real need, that government is reaching out to small businesses to help these people," he said. "But as far as me, if I move again, I have to ask for another permit. I feel like there should be some help, instead of an ordinance against it so I don't have to wait another month."
Mayor Ken Branner reminded Johnson that the reason for the permit delay was because Johnson didn't attend the June Planning and Zoning meeting.
"The process didn't change," said Branner. "You caused yourself to lose a month."
Johnson said the permit process – going to Planning and Zoning and then going before Council – still takes a long time.
"If someone calls me to another location tomorrow, I can't go," he said.
Branner said if Johnson receives a request to cook inside of a business and serve food to people in the building, that's fine since Johnson has a catering license. But if he wants to park his truck at another location and sell items from his truck, then he's going to have to get another conditional use permit.