Council Votes 3-0 To Approve Mobile Food Vendor Ordinance; Mayor Vetoes Decision

(Ordinance 1203-Mobile Food Vendors can be found at the bottom of the story)

BROKEN BOW—A final vote on the mobile food ordinance did not go smoothly as tensions were high at the Broken Bow City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 25. Ordinance 1203-Mobile Food Vendors was an ordinance that was created after parking complaints came to the attention of the City Council.

After discussions and investigations took place, it was determined that the parking problem seemed to hover around food trucks. Following the investigations, an ordinance was drawn up using ordinances from other central Nebraska towns including Kearney, St. Paul, and many others.

During the public hearing, only Donnis Hueftle-Bullock rose to speak about the ordinance with concerns about the 150 foot restriction on where food trucks can be parked to sell food. Her concern about the restriction was that when a business wants to have a food truck, but may neighbor a permanent food establishment, the food truck must have written permission to sell that food. The example given was if Hardware Hank wanted to have a food truck, it would have to have written consent from Pizza Hut.

While no other members of the public spoke during the public hearing, Council President Rod Sonnichsen told those in attendance that the reason for the ordinance was to have something on the record for Broken Bow Police Officers. Sonnichsen said that officers needed to have a law to reference when dealing with parking and food trucks.

Sonnichsen also told the public there were four pieces of the new ordinance that were removed that were originally in the first draft. While most of the ordinance covers housekeeping issues and obvious topics such as safety, alcohol, food permits, definitions, etc., there were sections that were removed to make things easier to implement the regulations.

The regulation dealing with distance from a festival/fair was removed and in its place, mobile food vendors cannot be parked at the City Square, in the same spot, for more than 24 hours. Background checks were also removed from the ordinance as at a previous meeting, vendors expressed concern that sometimes they do not know who will be going to each location until the day of the event. The final piece that was removed was the requirement that an individual representative shall be present with the mobile food truck at all times.

Following the public hearing and the final reading of the ordinance, Councilman Jacob Holcomb voted to approve the ordinance with an additional amendment to remove the 150 foot restriction from a permanent food establishment.

President Sonnichsen seconded the approval and City Clerk Stephanie Wright called the roll which read as such: Larry Miller: Yes; Jacob Holcomb: Yes; Rod Sonnichsen: Yes; Chris Myers was absent from the meeting and the council voted to excuse his absence.

Following the roll call Mayor John Berghorst immediately verbally vetoed the ordinance which will delay it from being signed into law. Berghorst noted that he believed there was still an issue with generator noise and parking illegally.

At the next meeting, a vote could be taken to possibly override the veto. To override a veto, the council must have at least three of the four members vote yes, which will also by-pass any signature by Mayor Berghorst and automatically allow the ordinance be made into law.

Other agenda items included the approval of the SDL application and South D Street closure for the August 2 street dance for Legends Neighborhood Grill. Butler told the council that the plan was to play music until midnight and that would give them until 1 AM to clean up from the dance.

Also approved was the use of Pleasant Hill Lane, South 1st Ave., and South N Street for the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce 5K/10K Fun Run/Walk on July 13 during Crazy Days. The final approval was the streets/alleys vacation request procedure and the fee of $150.

The next Broken Bow City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 9 at 6 PM at the Broken Bow Public Library.

*Regulation “c” was amended to be removed from the ordinance*