By David Mills
A plan has been submitted to open a food truck market on the parking lot where the Le Virage restaurantonce stood.
The Walnut Creek Planning Commission will consider the special use permit application at its meeting on Thursday night.
The project has been proposed by the family that owns the .42 acre site at North Main Street and North California Street.
The operation would be overseen by the family's company, the Bend Food Truck Market.
The plan calls for the market to be open Monday through Saturday with lunch served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Live music would be performed from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays.
Eight food trucks would be parked on the lot with a maximum of 72 customers allowed at any one time.
There would be 23 parking spaces available and 12 tables with umbrellas would be set up.
Matt Marinelli, whose family has owned the lot for 30 years, would run the day-to-day operations. He is graduating this month from Cal State East Bay with a degree in business with a focus on finance.
Marinelli said 27 food trucks have signed on so far.
The Marinelli company will utilize 16 of them at first. The rest will be on call and potentially be considered for future markets.
Eight of the trucks will be on the lot on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The other eight would have Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday slots.
The truck owners have signed five-week agreements. Other trucks might be rotated into the schedule after the initial five weeks.
Marinelli said if the plans are approved, the market would open in February or March.
He said his family has been trying to figure out a use for the property since the Le Virage restaurant was gutted by a fire in August 2012. The building was torn down shortly after the blaze.
Marinelli said they tried to use the property as a parking lot but were eventually told they couldn't do that any longer.
Marinelli got the idea for the food trucks when he saw the Off The Grid website. He figured the location at 2211 N. Main Street had plenty of vehicular and foot traffic and was close enough to the BART station to make a food truck market work.
"I don't see anything else like it in Walnut Creek," he said.
In the staff report to the commission, city planners said they have some concerns about cars entering and exiting the parking lot.
They've asked Bend Food Trucks to make some improvements to the lot and the adjacent sidewalks.
They also recommend a six-month trial period to see how the operation goes.
Marinelli said he's been anticipating the commission hearing and is hopeful the company can get started soon.
"I'm ready to handle it," he said. "I'll be there every day for the first six months if need be to make it work."