Planning Director Steve Ervin made a presentation to the Paducah Board of Commissioners about food trucks also known as mobile food vending. Currently, mobile food trucks are allowed in Paducah only in the HBD (Highway Business District) zones which are along a section of U.S. 60/Hinkleville Road and a section of Lone Oak Road. Ervin says in the past couple of years he has had a handful of inquiries regarding the possibility of expanding the areas that could be served by mobile food trucks. He says the growth of mobile food trucks is expected to soar generating up to $2.7 billion in revenue nationally by 2017. Ervin says, “Food trucks can be a great tool to energize a space, provide food options where they are limited, encourage entrepreneurship and business growth, and engage residents and visitors in a community.” Commissioner Richard Abraham says, “I see it as an opportunity for individuals to take initiative to go into business for themselves. There are a lot of different ways to put this together. Our challenge is to put it together in a way that’s fair.” Ervin outlined the pros and cons of mobile food vending. The pros are the relatively low start-up cost for an entrepreneur, the addition of food choices in locations with limited restaurants, an increase in activity that could energize an area, and the opportunity for an entrepreneur to test the local market on a small-scale first. The cons of mobile food vending include the addition of noise and trash, problems with parking and vehicular circulation, operational challenges due to weather and an unpredictable market, and possible conflicts with existing restaurants. Ervin says, “That is something that we will have to address is how the food trucks relate to our existing restaurants that have a vested interest in our community.” Ervin adds there are several factors to consider if Paducah decided to draft a food truck ordinance. Some of the factors include the number of hours a truck can stay in one location and number of hours it is in operation, types of items to be sold, how to address the truck upkeep and maintenance, how to accommodate parking and vehicular circulation in addition to garbage collection and signage, how to review and permit the trucks, and should the trucks be on public or private property. The Board asked Ervin to further research what other cities have drafted in their ordinances to see if there are common practices and then provide an update at a future meeting.
City Engineer & Public Works Director Rick Murphy made a presentation to the Paducah Board of Commissioners about the City’s existing storm water system and its limitations, the need for an updated storm water master plan, and an overview of possible funding structures. Murphy explained that the majority of the drainage problems in the City originate from the natural geography of the City since Paducah is located on the Ohio River’s floodplain. He adds that nearly 204,000 square miles of land drain to Paducah. Paducah has 110 miles of storm sewer and 69 miles of combined sewer. Much of the city’s development occurred at a time when storm water management was not a priority and the current development ordinances were not in place. Therefore, Murphy says the current storm water system is aging and over capacity and needs to be upgraded and/or replaced. The majority of the storm sewers are 60 to 100 years old. The City provides approximately $60,000 each year to fund storm water management which Murphy says is insufficient. Murphy recommends the development of a holistic storm water master plan. The most recent study was completed in 1989 and looked at only five flood-prone areas. A storm water master plan would study and model the existing storm water management system in detail, establish project goals, and prioritize projects. The master plan also would look at possible ways to fund system upgrades. Murphy outlined the possibility of creating a Storm Water Utility. Most storm water utilities use the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) as their method of funding. Using the ERU method, a property would be charged a monthly storm water fee based on its contribution to storm water runoff which is directly related to the amount of impervious surface on a property. Murphy showed a chart listing ten Kentucky communities that have a monthly fee ranging from $1.50 to more than $7.00 to fund their storm water utilities. The average is $3.60 per month for residential properties. Nationally, there are 1491 storm water utilities with a median storm water utility fee of $3.50 per month. City Manager Jeff Pederson says this is basically a proposal to create a storm water utility, a new division of the Engineering-Public Works Department, with a dedicated source of revenue. Pederson recommends moving forward with the development of a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit interest from companies that would be able to develop a storm water master plan for the City of Paducah which would provide guidance on drainage projects and funding. The Board of Commissioners voiced their support in moving forward with the RFP.