10/11 UPDATE: Solano County and Cool Patch Pumpkins have reached an agreement and food and beverages will be available this weekend.
SOLANO COUNTY (CBS13) — Families are upset after a visit to Cool Patch Pumpkins in Solano County.
They arrived expecting a hayride and an afternoon snack. But they found out there was no food on the menu.
“It’s a good thing I came prepared with waters and snack bars,” said Katie Parish, visiting the pumpkin patch with her family.
It’s not a trick: the treats at Cool Patch Pumpkins are scarce. Typically, owner Matt Cooley likes to serve hot dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries and shaved ice. But he found out at the last minute that his food permit wasn’t approved by Solano County.
It turns out the food permit was tied in with his conditional use permit. One stipulation for approval? Solano County wanted Cooley to pave the gravel entrance to the patch first!
“I don’t want pavement!” Cooley told CBS13. “It’s a farm!”
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Solano County Resource Management Director Bill Emlen told CBS13 the county wanted the pavement to keep dirt from the pumpkin patch off the public road.
“So he said ‘if you don’t do that, you can’t do this,’” Cooley explained. “So we put the sign up. Okay, we’re not going to have food.”
Emlen explained that Cooley’s overall use permit relied on meeting certain terms. One of them was having a plan in case traffic got too congested.
“Nowhere in that permit did it say ‘$10,000 fee,’” Cooley said.
According to Emlen, that fee is actually a deposit to fund monitoring traffic near the patch. Why? Emlen says last year the patch was such a popular destination, that cars were backed up all the way to Interstate 80.
“I’m optimistic that we can resolve this issue before the weekend,” Emlen told CBS13. “We just wanted to make sure that traffic safety issues were addressed before this large-scale event.”
And good news: Cooley believes he’s close to reaching a compromise with the county.
“Looks like this weekend we will have food if all goes according to plan,” Cooley said.
Cooley will meet with Solano County on Wednesday and hopes to come to an agreement on the entrance. But more importantly, he’s 99 percent sure hungry kids will be able to buy hot dogs once again this Saturday.