St. Cloud City Council to hold final food truck vote Thursday

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The St. Cloud City Council on Thursday will hold a final public hearing on an ordinance that would allow food trucks in the city limits, within specified areas.

The ordinance, which passed on first reading Jan. 28, allows food trucks as a conditional use within the highway business zoning designation in the city.

According to City Attorney Dan Mantzaris, city code doesn’t currently allow food trucks, except for special events. A state law that took effect Oct. 1 prohibits the city from banning food trucks, but does allow the city to regulate them.

“We’re comfortable we can regulate them, if we have an ordinance that allows them somewhere in the city,” Mantzaris said.

During the Jan. 28 meeting, the City Council heard from several people who own and operate food trucks in St. Cloud, as well as from one local brick-and-mortar restaurant owner.

Council Member Linette Matheny characterized the ordinance as a stopgap and said it won’t be the final answer for the city.
"I agree the conditional use needs to be clearly spelled out,” she said. “I think we put this in place…but we keep having the conversation and we keep moving forward to come up with a more elegant solution.”

Mayor Nathan Blackwell said he supports food trucks in the city, as long as they’re regulated.

“I’m not opposed to food trucks; I’m just opposed to food trucks without guidelines,” Blackwell said. “I want us to work alongside people who are trying to make a living.”

Deputy Mayor Keith Trace noted that Orlando has an area designated for food trucks, and uses it as a business incubator program, working with the food truck vendors to transition to successful brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The council will have the final public hearing and vote on the proposed ordinance at its regular meeting this Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center. The meeting will be streaming live on the city website, www.stcloud.org.