Food truck owners push back on proposed regulation

Food trucks would be banned from Downtown Huntsville, under a draft ordinance still under consideration by the City Council. The ongoing debate and discussion of the ordinance has been continued until the Dec. 4 meeting. 

Under the draft ordinance, food truck parks will be required to provide at least three parking spaces and restrooms, and will have their hours of operation restricted. A mobile food vendor will also not be able to conduct business within 200 feet of an operating food service establishment, without written permission.

Council members spent most of a more than two-hour City Council meeting Tuesday night discussing the possible ordinance regulations that will be put on both food trucks and food truck parks. However, they did not take a second and final vote on the overall ordinance.

“It’s important that people mostly affected by this decision be included in the discussions,” councilmember Daiquiri Beebe (Ward 1) said. “We want to encourage new businesses and that includes our food trucks. Food trucks allow for people to start a business less expensively, which may become a future brick and mortar restaurant.

“I also believe that the downtown area is a prime location for food trucks … it brings more shoppers to the area, which is something that is desperately needed.”

A sticking point with the proposed regulations was whether a food truck should be allowed to operate both drive-thru and walk up business.

“Food trucks give us a good way to test the market. I can tell you that the drive-thru is a huge part of my business,” Honey’s Coffee Bar owner Lindy Hamm said. “We want to be a part of this decision and want to be treated fairly.”

Other key provisions of the draft ordinance under consideration would limit the hours of operation from 6 a.m. until midnight. Dynamic signs and pole signs will also be prohibited.

City purchases new fire truck

In other action the Huntsville City Council gave the go-ahead for the purchase of a new 2020 Ferrara Cinder Pumper fire truck, totaling $720,000. The truck will replace a wrecked vehicle, as the city is receiving an estimated $405,000 in insurance reimbursements.

“We are actually getting paid the full amount for what we originally purchased the truck for,” councilmember Joe Rodriquez (Ward 4) said.

Council members voted to waive the second reading of the ordinance, with the price of the fire truck expected to increase 5-10% after Nov. 30. The remaining $315,000 needed for the purchase will come from unallocated reserves.

Rodriquez named Mayor Pro Tem

Rodriquez will replace outgoing council member Joe Emmett, who termed out last month. The Ward 4 counselor, who was recently re-elected, is currently in his fourth term.

“The proceeding council have some great accomplishments and have done a lot for this city,” Mayor Andy Brauninger said. “We are looking for even greater things to come out of this council.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Huntsville City Council is set for Dec. 4.