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The Flagler Beach City Commission came to a verbal agreement at its Thursday night meeting to bar mobile food vendors from easements along State Road 100 and Oceanshore Boulevard, but sent the rest of a proposed ordinance on mobile food vendors back to City Attorney Drew Smith for revision.
The proposed ordinance would allow mobile food vendors on private property with few restrictions, and City Commission Chairman Steve Settle called it a “recipe for total chaos” that would allow food trucks to compete unfairly with brick-and-mortar establishments.
But the way the ordinance is worded, Settle said, a food truck selling Cuban cuisine could pull up right next to a Cuban restaurant as long as it stayed on the property of the another business whose owner gave it permission to be there. The sandwich shop would be out of luck — the food truck, with lower overhead, could likely charge less — and the city couldn’t do anything about it.
Commissioner Marshall Shupe was also concerned about the competition. “What I'm looking at is, if they're building a house in the city, and one of those food trucks pulls up at noon and wants to sell sandwiches to the guys building the house, I don't see a problem with that. But I do have a problem with someone pulling up in front of a restaurant and trying to sell hot dogs and hamburgers,” he said.
But Commissioners Joy McGrew and Kim Carney disagreed.
“It’s not government’s job to sit and regulate who sits where and what they sell and how they sell it,” Carney said. “I just don’t want people starting and stopping on public roads.”
Shupe said food trucks serve a lot of businesses by pulling up around lunch time so employees can get a quick, prepackaged sandwich instead of driving out for lunch, but suggested setting a time limit on how long mobile food vendors can stay in one location.
Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher did not attend the meeting because she was out of town.
The ordinance on food trucks will come before the commission again after Smith revises it. Settle proposed holding a workshop on the matter if the commission is unable to agree on the next revision.
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