With some exclusions, amendment limits sales to three days a week, four hours per day
Members of the Adairsville City Council voted Thursday evening to approve an ordinance amendment outlining new requirements and regulations for mobile retail food establishments.
Councilman Alan Towe made a motion to enact two major changes to the ordinance, which was first presented to the council in December.
Whereas the first draft of the ordinance contained a provision limiting food truck sales to Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Towe recommended that the final ordinance allow such sales on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday instead.
He cited religious reasons for the ordinance revision.
“I don’t want to be a part of somebody having to work their food truck on a Sunday versus having to get to go to the Lord’s house and worship with the congregation,” he said. “I certainly don’t want to be part of discouraging that.”
Towe also suggested that another provision of the ordinance pertaining to maximum retail hours be modified from three hours per day to four hours per day.
Members of the council voted unanimously to integrate those changes into the ordinance before likewise voting unanimously to approve the ordinance amendment as a whole.
The ordinance defines mobile retail food establishments as entities that “prepares and serves solid food from a readily moveable wheeled vehicle, or a towed wheeled vehicle, designed and equipped to serve food.” The amendment also creates a new fee schedule for food truck licenses, setting the annual cost at $150.
The ordinance contains more than a dozen stipulations for vendors, including provisions barring food trucks from selling alcoholic beverages, operating on residential lots or conducting business within 300 feet of any “licensed, brick-and mortar restaurant” — a requirement that can be waived by the council for certain City-sanctioned events.
Other provisions prevent more than one food truck business operating at the same location unless part of a City-sponsored event and require business owners to maintain “a log for six months” detailing the dates, times and locations of disposed grease and other food preparation-related byproducts.
Under the ordinance, the city manager has the ability to revoke or suspend a food truck license, while food truck operators have the ability to appeal such revocations to the Adairsville Unified Zoning Board.
The ordinance does allow food trucks to operate at Georgia North Industrial Park, the Princeton Boulevard corridor and “other construction sites” on any day of the week, all year round, albeit for only four hours each day. The ordinance also allows food trucks to operate more than three days per week pending the sales are “in conjunction with a City-sponsored event, or a private catered event in which individual sales to the public are not conducted.”
The ordinance took effect immediately upon adoption by the council.
Zack Philliber of The Mule House Wood Fire Pizza spoke at the public hearing.
“We put a poll on social media that asked where should we go and an overwhelming amount was the city of Adairsville,” he told the council. “That’s the reason we’re here, we’re a part of this community … the people and the citizens of Adairsville asked us to come and that’s exactly what we did.”
Another Mule House representative, Nick Philliber, requested that the provisions limiting sales to three days a week and four hours each day be removed from the ordinance.
Other individuals within the city agree. One Facebook poll showed 592 Adairsville residents opposed to limiting food truck sales to three days a week as of Thursday evening; those voting in favor of that ordinance provision totaled just seven.
Councilman Lee Castro, who voted to adopt the ordinance in its totality, said he was personally opposed to the same regulations the Phillibers objected to.
“I know these guys, I know their heart, everybody up here serves because they love the community,” he said. “Sometimes, we don’t see eye to eye on that but we come together again and we recognize that our highest priority is the community.”
Furthermore, Castro said the ordinance isn’t “targeting” the Phillibers’ business.
“It seemed that way and people picked up on that, but I can assure you, that’s not what happened,” he said. “I told the DDA that with any of these fights, if I lose, I’ll sleep soundly. But I cannot vote against my conscience because then I won’t sleep soundly.”
Councilman Ahmad Hall also weighed in on the social media-driven controversy surrounding the ordinance amendment.
“We never had a food truck ordinance in the first place, this is the first time we’ve ever done this,” he said. “It can be amended, it can be changed, but I believe there needs to be something in place.”
The meeting concluded with remarks from Mayor Ken Carson, who said he believes the local government “fumbled the ball” by not addressing the food truck ordinance earlier.
“I know it may not be the most popular thing on social media right now,” he said. “But it’s not about that, it’s about getting the ordinance in place, we’ve got to have ordinances and rules.”