City Continues Food Truck Debate

Council Will Seek Legal Opinion On Current Ordinance

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After more discussion concerning food trucks during its regular meeting last week, the Mountain View City Council agreed to get an opinion from the city’s attorney and the municipal league concerning the current food vendor ordinance.
Councilman Dana Woods said he would like an opinion from a lawyer to see if the ordinance only allows food trucks to operate behind the court house during festivals and what the 14-day limit means.
“I’m afraid if we get rid of this ordinance we will get something worse,” Woods stated.
Mayor Roger Gardner said attorneys are not going to know what the motive was of the ordinance from years ago, but stated he would ask the questions.
Councilman Truman Bullard said he had been hearing from people in the community worried that allowing food trucks would hurt local businesses. He said food trucks could come in and leave and could put a hurt on businesses who have to survive through the winter here.
Planning and Zoning Officer Rex Vannatter questioned who would do an economic impact study, as had been requested previously.
Gardner said the council wants to contact other cities to see how cities similar to Mountain View have been impacted by food trucks.
Councilman J.K. Williams said he could see positives and negatives, but had an issue with telling property owners what they could do or not do on their own property.
“I don’t want to see businesses go out,” Councilman Ricky Shuttleworth stated.
Councilman Finis Brewer stated he didn’t see the current ordinance as a food truck ordinance, but rather a festival ordinance allowing food trucks for 14 days at a time.
Gary Stewart said he didn’t see a difference between a food truck and the community center selling burgers and hotdogs outside.
Gardner said he believed the food was for donations only.
Stewart also noted there are fruit and vegetable stands who are competition with Walmart and Harps.
Gardner noted that is also under a different set of laws.
Stewart said the council should not be voting on what he could do for a living. He said he had contacted the chamber of commerce and the city concerning placing his food truck at the square and could not get an answer.
Gardner said he could see both sides of the issue, and the city might need to get a new ordinance.
Krispy House owner April Stevens said food truck owners could negotiate with the chamber on fees, stating she believed the chamber would rather have some money than no money.
Councilman Danny Simmons said he believes food trucks would do well on the square because the current restaurants in the location are extremely busy with very long lines.
Woods also noted that people need to stop categorizing food truck operators as cheaters who leave the area and don’t pay sales tax.
The council agreed to get a legal opinion on the current ordinance.

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