Woodland Heights Food Truck Court tangled in zoning issues may have to close

To food truck or not food truck that is the question.

No good deed, or is it no good time, goes unpunished. Woodland Height Baptist Church over the past few weeks has created a unique community event that brought neighbors away from their televisions and computers and out in the street to share a meal. Life is rarely simple and as you can see from the following note from Robert Johns of the church there are still some wrinkles that need ironing out.

Food Truck Court Update

We at Woodland Heights Baptist Church have been very happy to host the Food Truck Court the last three Friday nights in our parking lot. As was mentioned when we began these events, we are hosting it not as a fundraiser but as a gift to the community, and we have been extremely pleased with the experience everyone seems to have had, the opportunities for us to meet some of you, and the fellowship between neighbors. We hope you have enjoyed it as well, and will continue to stop by on Friday nights in the future.

Several of you have asked recently about some rumored issues with the City of Richmond, and I want to address this situation briefly. Even before we held our first event, there was a question asked of a City official as to whether such an event violates the present zoning ordinances. This question was not asked by a resident of Woodland Heights, but by someone living elsewhere with interest in the Food Truck business. The issue revolves around an interpretation of the code, and we are in the process of working with various City groups to make sure that we are in compliance with the zoning restrictions, and that we can continue the events through September of this year and again next Spring. While we are in this process, we plan to continue hosting the Food Trucks through September—and hope that we will be allowed to do so.

Throughout this process, City Councilman Parker Agelasto has been completely supportive and immensely helpful, and we greatly appreciate his assistance. Likewise, Community Association President Lee Shewmake has offered advice and help, and we thank her as well. We will continue to work with them in taking our next steps.

Eventually, our church may find that the process to secure a zoning variance to be too expensive, but we hope that we will be able to navigate the process and requirements smoothly. There may come a time when it will help us to have signatures or other shows of support from the neighborhood—we will let you know.

In the meantime, we hope that you continue to enjoy “Food Truck Fridays”—it has proven to be a fun experience, and tasty as well. If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints about the events thus far, please email me (rather than post publicly) at JohnsR@stcva.org . We want this to be a good experience for everyone concerned, and will work to make it so.

–Robert Johns

Image is a postcard with a 1965 Postmark and came from the VCU Library Digital Collection. Not really relevant to the discussion but presented a nice opportunity to share an old postcard.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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