City councilman expresses concerns, asks for measure to be tabled

Food truck ordinance on hold

A Seymour councilman has put the brakes on an ordinance that would allow food trucks to operate anywhere in the city, saying more needs to be done to control where the trucks can stop and serve.

Councilman Shawn Malone said he doesn’t agree with giving mobile food vendors permission to set up on the sides of streets or in front of brick and mortar food establishments.

He has no problem with them being in city parking lots or at events.

“I feel there needs to be designated areas for them,” he said. “Whenever I go to another community, Nashville or Indianapolis, where there are food trucks, they are always in a designated area.”

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Malone also owns The Brooklyn Pizza Co. in Seymour.

Councilman John Reinhart said he was concerned it would be a “constitutional” issue to prohibit someone from parking in public places.

Ordinance 8, Council Bill 15 was drafted by city attorney Rodney Farrow in response to requests from two local food trucks to sell food in the city-owned Walnut Street Parking Lot on Friday evenings.

The ordinance requires mobile food vendors to purchase a $50 permit from the city to operate.

“If we give them a license to do business in the city of Seymour, we are giving them a license to do business anywhere in the city of Seymour,” Malone said.

The board of works agreed to the food trucks’ request, giving them temporary use of the parking lot through April until the ordinance was in place.

“By having a license for the vendors, we can enforce the code,” said Councilman Dave Earley, who serves as chairman of the governmental affairs committee.

The way the ordinance is written now, licensed food trucks would be able to park anywhere on public property or private property with permission from the owner.

Malone expressed his concerns during a council meeting Monday night after second reading of the ordinance.

Councilman Matt Nicholson requested to amend the ordinance to prevent food trucks from having loud music if parked for more than 15 minutes. The amendment, which was unanimously approved, allows ice cream trucks to play music while moving to attract customers.

Malone requested the ordinance be tabled for further study.

“There are a lot of things about this ordinance that need a lot of work,” he said. “There’s no substance to it whatsoever.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.