Taco truck on South Orchard Avenue gets solar panel roof – Ukiah Daily Journal

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Maria Alatorre took some rare time off from making the popular tacos she serves across the street from the Ukiah Post Office this week so her landlord could make some much-appreciated improvements: Adding a solar panel roof above her taco truck.

“It looks so much better, and will be so nice in the summer,” said Alatorre, who also serves very popular sno-cones when the long days full of sunshine come to Ukiah.

Before the wooden frame was built around her business, anyone eating or working at Antojitos Mary had little to no protection from the hot, bright sun shining on the lot.

“But now we have shade, and protection from the rain, as well,” said Matthew Gilbert, owner of the property at 676 S. Orchard Ave. where Alatorre rents space, noting that the 19-foot-tall wooden structure was custom-built for his longtime tenant’s truck.

“We made it this tall to accommodate the hood on her truck,” said Gilbert, who also owns and operates Mendocino Wool and Fiber Inc with his wife Sarah, explaining that the solar panels added this week atop the sturdy wooden beams will also provide a significant amount of electricity, “enough to power the truck and the mill, about two-thirds of our usage on the property.”

When asked about the design of the structure, Gilbert said he definitely wanted a wooden structure with a rustic look and feel, “reminiscent of all the barns in the area.”

When asked about city permitting for the new structure, Community Development Director Craig Schlatter said “there was a major site development permit/use permit approved by the Planning Commission on May 13, 2015 that allows for operation of the existing food truck and an outdoor seating area. The structure with the solar panels was reviewed by the city’s planning staff, and because it is a structure accessory to an existing use within the same footprint as the permitted seating area and consistent with current city regulations, no further review was needed. If other improvements are proposed in the future, additional review/permits may be required.”

When asked about the height allowance, Schlatter said “the height maximum is 50 feet in that zoning district, (and) the structure owner properly pulled the required building/electrical permits.”

As for when she will be serving quesabirria tacos again, Altorre said she will be taking the weekend off to enjoy a Mother’s Day present, then she and her daughter Jovanna will be back cooking at the truck by Tuesday, April 23.

Gilbert said the structure was built by Baguley Builders of Hopland, and the solar panels were installed by Radiant Solar of Ukiah.

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