Wild Bill’s Chuck Wagon will be able to remain at Popcorn Park Zoo without going before the Planning Board for site plan approval, for now.
The food truck came to the township four or five years ago to be stationed part time at Popcorn Park Zoo, Committeeman and Planning Board Member Gary Quinn said. The applicant received administrative approval, which has been extended each year.
At Monday night’s Planning Board meeting, the board discussed whether it should continue to grant the applicant administrative approval to remain at Popcorn Park or if it should return for a site plan waiver.
“What is the impact to the township to have a food operation out there without a site plan?” board member John Curtin said.
Quinn said it wasn’t a matter of impact to the township because Wild Bill’s benefits the nonprofit.
“This food service serves a different purpose than other food trucks,” he said.
Since Wild Bill’s began operation in Lacey Township, zoning laws have changed. Business stands are no longer a permitted use in town because they compete with local businesses that pay taxes and bills, Committeeman Gary Quinn previously said when an issue with Dewey’s Dogs arose.
Quinn also cited that a year and a half ago, Route 9 in Bayville was lined with mobile food trucks, which caused complications with businesses, landlords, the Board of Health and the police department.
Dewey’s, a food truck originally located at the intersection of Route 9 and Lakeside Drive South, had to search for a new location once to be built on the same lot.
When operator Anthony Geiger found a new lot to park his truck, his to the township’s ordinance.
But 20 percent of Wild Bill’s profits go to Popcorn Park, which is a major source of revenue for the organization that is a safe haven for all animals, Quinn said. That revenue has become especially important to Popcorn Park since the township opted to use an outside company for animal control.
“We don’t want the offender in town,” Quinn said of the food truck.
Also, having the food truck appear before the Planning Board for a site plan waiver would pose another financial problem for Popcorn Park, he said. Rather than Wild Bill’s Chuck Wagon dealing with the issue, Popcorn Park would have to come in because it is their site.
“I think it would be a hardship on a group that’s really trying to do so much good,” Quinn said. “Whether you like animals or not, they’re still serving a purpose throughout this town and the state.”
The applicant will return to the Planning Board next month for administrative approval, which will be good for another year.