The Walz administration told local municipalities to get creative with measures to allow restaurants to provide outdoor dining, and Tuesday’s meeting of the Morris City Council included a wide ranging discussion of the issue. Part of the discussion turned to food trucks, which some on the council saw as unfair competitors to established restaurants in town. Here’s Council Member Kevin Wohlers:
“I’m not a real fan of having food vendors parking on and using our streets to set up and compete with our current businesses.”
Council Member Brian Solvie was in favor of requiring permits to operate a food truck and having them pay a fee to the city to conduct business.
“I would have to agree with Kevin about having a permit or them paying something to have the ability to sell food in the town, because our businesses are paying our taxes,” he said.
But since the City doesn’t regulate restaurants, Council Member Jeff Miller didn’t think much could be done about a truck operating on private property.
“If somebody wants to bring in a truck on their private property, I really can’t see where we can do anything about it,” said Miller.
For his part, Mayor Sheldon Giese said he was not in favor of a total ban of food trucks, but setting some limitations and regulations on their operation would be fine. He said food trucks have a place in the dining world, as an option, for example, at special events or festivals.
In the end, the Council made a motion for the city manager, the chief of police and the city’s attorney to review what other cities around the state are doing and come up with a letter of instruction that could be presented to restaurant owners.