Central Market vendors and restaurant owners showed up at City Council on Tuesday night to share their opinions about a proposal to increase the number of food carts in the downtown area.
But when the public comment session opened, they didn’t get the chance to voice their concerns to council members.
While the ordinance was introduced during the meeting, council policy requires that new legislation sit for one session before being voted on.
Public comment is reserved for items not on the legislative agenda, Councilman Henry Nixon said. He told the business owners that Council would hear discussion on the bill on Dec. 17, when it will be considered for approval.
Council has been discussing changes to the mobile food vendor ordinance for several months, but many of the restaurateurs said they heard about the plan only last week after the proposal was moved onto the legislative agenda.
Others said they were concerned that food carts would lead to food trucks, which are not addressed under the bill before council, and an industry that bricks and mortar — with their high overhead — couldn’t compete with.
Should council increase mobile food vendors in the downtown area?
And what about the public comment session policy? Should Council allow discussion on agenda items even if the ordinance is not yet up for a vote?