Food truck owners celebrate as ordinance is sent back to committee

Louisville food truck ordinance heats up Metro Council

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - From burgers to barbeque, Louisville has no shortage of food trucks, but the debate over where they can go and how they can operate heated up in Metro Council Thursday night.

In the end, an ordinance on the topic was sent back to committee for changes. That’s a move local operators applauded.

"There are concerns with the way that multiple things in here are written," Councilman Markus Winkler, District 17, said.

Ordinance sponsor Brandon Coan, District 8, said claims that the legislation is aimed at making it tougher for food trucks to do business are false.

"It does not create any new restrictions on the ability to do business," Coan said.

Food truck operators said the ordinance uses vague words that would make it hard for them to sell in places they already are, or operate catering businesses.

In the end, an ordinance on the topic was sent back to committee for changes. That's a move local operators applauded.
In the end, an ordinance on the topic was sent back to committee for changes. That's a move local operators applauded. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

"We're taking some of our revenue across the river where they don't give us these issues," Craig Boutiette, a food truck operator who attended the meeting, said. "So, bye, Louisville."

He and others said they’ve felt left out of the legislative process - until now.

"We welcome the chance to have meaningful dialogue this time and re-write this thing," Leah Stewart, President of the Louisville Food Truck Association, said.

Stewart said the feeling that some council members are pandering to brick and mortar restaurants extends further.

She said that is made apparent by emails uncovered by he D.C. area libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice which represents the Louisville Food Truck Association.

The Institute for Justice claims emails between Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and a restaurant owner show her telling the restaurateur, she put up 'no food truck' signs on meters at their immediate request.
The Institute for Justice claims emails between Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and a restaurant owner show her telling the restaurateur, she put up 'no food truck' signs on meters at their immediate request. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

"I think they show that one or two particular council persons have been unduly influenced by restaurants to craft legislation specifically to hurt food trucks," Stewart said.

The Institute for Justice claims emails between Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and a restaurant owner show her telling the restaurateur, she put up 'no food truck' signs on meters at their immediate request- the institute implying that 'flouted the law'.

Sexton Smith responded saying she was answering constituent concerns about public safety and the fair use of public streets.

“Unfortunately, the emotional arguments are prevailing and winning the day so to speak, over a fact based conversation,” Sexton Smith said.

The ordinance was forwarded for a vote in front of the full Metro Council Thursday with a previous unfavorable report from the Public Works Committee.

Council members said they want to set a specific timeline for when the ordinance will be heard again.

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