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P&Z gives thought to allowing food trucks: The door to allowing food trucks in the City of Lake Ozark was left open a crack by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission during its regular monthly meeting April 7. After a brief discussion, the P&Z requested more information before making a recommendation to the board of aldermen. The issue was brought before the group after city officials received several requests in the last few weeks from vendors wanting to take advantage of the throngs of potential customers during special events and weekends in the city. Currently, food trucks are not allowed without the approval of the board of aldermen, the event applicant and the property owner where the truck would be located. “These transactions cannot occur on public-controlled spaces such as sidewalks, streets and rights of way without having a special use permit from the board of aldermen,” Assistant City Administrator and Community Development Director Harrison Fry explained. “They currently are not allowed in the city based on current city code.” While food trucks would be a new type of business to the community and offer variety, Fry noted, they also would, in effect, compete with existing businesses potentially at a lower level of investment. Mayor Gerry Murawski focused on the potential conflict with businesses, especially those on The Strip. “I’ve been asked this for five years now and my opinion has been rock solid. I believe businesses invest a lot of money through their lease or purchase and to have food trucks at least on The Strip is counterproductive,” the mayor offered. “If we did something below the dam for special events, for instance, we might want to be able to do that but that’s about the only option. We have such a small town and all the food truck people that I’ve talked to always want to set up on The Strip at an event and I think that would be absolutely counterproductive to our businesses and their investment.” P&Z Chairman Margaret Davis pointed out that food trucks in The Strip area would also take away valuable parking spaces that are at a premium. In answer to a question by P&Z member Mike Otten regarding food trucks on private property, Fry reiterated that permission would be required from the property owner, the event applicant and the board of aldermen. Committee members wondered if food trucks could potentially be permitted away from The Strip such as in Eagle’s Landing.  “I do think there are times and places that might be appropriate for them, but putting them down on The Strip is not appropriate,” committee member Ethan Schackelford said. “I do think we should look at the situation and options and see if there might be a time and place to locate them.The complexities of collecting sales tax from venders who might operate in several communities also was raised as a possible challenge. The board is expected to revisit the issue at its next regular meeting May 5. In the meantime, city staff will be researching best practices on the issue from other communities.  

TEST TW WEATHER

Board gets update on Comprehensive Plan progress

The development of a new Comprehensive Plan for the City of Lake Ozark is back on track after taking a back seat to COVID-19 the last several months.

Matt Kostelnik, economic development specialist with the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments, recently presented an update to the board of aldermen. The city’s economic base and infrastructure have evolved in the last decade, while the city’s development plan has remained unchanged since 2006. Aldermen voted last summer to proceed with an update through the LOCLG. 

LOCLG Executive Director Linda Connor told the board last summer that city officials have wanted a Comp Plan update for several years, but the cost was prohibitive. With funding through the Economic Development Administration, the LOCLG is able to offer the plan update at no cost to the city.

“The plan gives the city a vision as to how it wants development in the future,” Connor explained. “We want to make sure we put in the plan what the city wants to look like in the next 10-15 years.”

She said the Comprehensive Plan identifies what the city’s needs are regarding economic growth and development.

“It’s extremely important if you want to go after state and federal funds,” she said.

Kostelnik said as part of the process a post card survey was sent to the city’s utility customers. Of those 1,000 surveyed, about 250 were returned – a response rate that pleased Kostelnik and city officials. The survey, designed to identify the “wants” and “needs” of the community, will be analyzed and a draft report provided to the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee for review.

 

Survey results

Responses to a series of questions include the following. For a complete look at the survey which includes responses by age groups, click on this link: https://bit.ly/3dajvkW.

•Do you live full-time or part-time in Lake Ozark?

–69 percent of respondents live in Lake Ozark; 21 percent are part-timers. The remaining 10 percent pay utilities here but did not live here.

•Do you work in Lake Ozark?

–53 percent said no, and 47 percent said yes.

•What industry sectors would you like to see come to Lake Ozark?

–Majority, retail. Followed by service industry, health care and social services and information technology.

•How would you rank the City of Lake Ozark’s involvement in the community?

–On a scale of 5, the city received a 3.3 rating.

•How long have you lived in Lake Ozark?

            –Less than 5 years, 24 percent

            –5-10 years, 21 percent

            –10-20 years, 36 percent

            –20+ years, 20 percent

 

What’s left to do

•Land Use Planning & Goals Meeting. Staff will facilitate this meeting to discuss possible future land use scenarios and build consensus among the committee to develop a future land use map. This meeting will also begin the process of setting simple and concise goals for the community based on the survey results and gathered information. 

•Objectives and Strategies Meeting No. 1. The LOCLG staff will provide suggestions to the committee for establishing objectives and strategies for each goal building off the previous meeting. 

•Objectives and Strategies Meeting No. 2. This will provide an opportunity to continue discussion of any remaining topics not covered in the previous meeting and fine tune all of the objectives and strategies.

•Writing the Plan. The LOCLG staff will write the full and complete document. City staff will review and make comments and suggest edits as needed.

•Public Open House/Draft Plan Review. Public comments will be received at the meeting and revisions made to the document based on public input.

•Final Plan Presentation. The plan will be presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their comments and endorsements.

The board of aldermen will eventually vote on adopting the plan.