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Bossier City crafting an ordinance for food trucks

Bossier City is crafting an ordinance to regulate food trucks in the city.

“We would like to see a set of reasonable regulations that address time constraints, allowable geographic locations, and proximity rules, as well as a streamlined permitting process,” said Carlotta Askew-Brown, assistant director for the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission.

The MPC decided to craft an ordinance after a recent influx of requests from mobile food vendors for both permanent and temporary use approvals, with no real way to regulate them.

“With the rapid expansion of the mobile vending scene, there is an increased demand for limited space which could produce unwanted congestion, parking wars, and animosity with competing brick and mortar stakeholders as well as public health, safety and welfare,” Askew-Brown explained. 

She went on to note that mobile vending has the capability of rejuvenating underutilized public spaces and an ordinance would allow mobile vendors to operate “while protecting the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Bossier.”

The MPC has not received any complaints or public reaction at this point.

It will eventually have a public hearing to gather input from residents, businesses and mobile food vendors to discuss ideas and best practices researched from other communities.

The ordinance is about 50 percent complete and something concrete is expected to go before the MPC for approval in roughly three months.

The city has also placed a moratorium on permanent food truck requests until the MPC can solidify the ordinance.

MPC Director Sam Marsiglia told the council at its regular July 17 meeting that the office had been “inundated” with requests to locate permanently in commercial parking lots all year long.

“We’re not talking about seasonal things like snow cones, fireworks, or produce,” said Marsiglia.

City Attorney Jimmy Hall said the term “food truck” is being used loosely.

“A lot of these are trailers used to [haul horses] and converted to stand in the middle of the Home Depot parking lot. It’s not what you’d see in bigger cities with mobile vehicles with a full kitchen,” said Hall.

Vendors need a certificate of occupancy and vendor’s licenses to locate on commercial property. This can be issued up to 10 days, anything longer goes before MPC for approval.

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