Smackover council considers food truck ordinance

(News-Times file photo)
(News-Times file photo)

Smackover's city council considered a new ordinance governing food trucks and other mobile food vendors in the city during their monthly meeting on Monday, March 13.

The ordinance, according to the official minutes from the council's February meeting, is modeled on the city of El Dorado's food truck-related ordinance.

During the meeting, council members asked for several changes in wording within the ordinance and the matter was eventually tabled until the April meeting, when it will ostensibly be presented again to the council with the changes made.

The ordinance sets out rules and regulations for mobile food vendors operating in Smackover including areas in which they will be allowed and not allowed to operate and documents that must be provided to the city including proof of health inspection, insurance and tax ID numbers.

Council member Chris Long asked for changes to a section governing where food vendors will be allowed to operate.

The section in question states that "MFV [mobile food vendors] shall not operate on any public street, city right-of-way, public sidewalk, and any area zoned as residential." Long asked that the section state only that food vendors may not operate in areas zoned as residential.

"Later on in the ordinance it states [they] can do it if granted permission by the city... I think [the change] would be more than adequate," Long said.

No objections were made and the change was approved.

Long also requested changes in the section requiring food vendors to provide proof of current insurance to the city.

"I think we may to clarify that and say liability [insurance]... They may have collision insurance, or insurance on their vehicle," Long said.

Council member Mark Corley also suggested that a $250,000 minimum be set on the insurance requirement.

No objections were made to the change.

Long and council member Phyllis Scott also briefly discussed potential changes to a section preventing food vendors from "providing or allowing" dining areas including seating and tables without prior approval from city code enforcement.

"I'm thinking even if Oil Town [festival] resumes or if we have vendors circling the area, do we want to say you have to take up - if you have stools out there or tables - that you have to take them up every evening?" Long said.

Mayor Donald Brock suggested adding language to exempt vendors operating on private property from the rule.

The ordinance will also establish "public food courts" for vendors to operate on public property, designated areas where vendors will be able to pay to operate for set periods of time.

Smackover PD Chief Michael Fife suggested adding a schedule of fines to the ordinance to aid with legally reinforcing responses to code infringements. Fife agreed to work up the list of fines to be added to the ordinance.

The ordinance will be reviewed again during the council's April meeting, which is set for Monday, April 10 at Smackover City Hall.