Mobile Vendor Ordinance Becomes Law Under Controversial Circumstances

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A proposed food truck ordinance that was supposedly scrapped by a 3-2 vote of the Minden City Council Tuesday, was back on the front burner in time for breakfast Wednesday.

Of the five council members, Terika Williams-Walker and Vincen Bradford voted against the ordinance.

Mayor Terry Gardner announced the vote passed, but Bradford disagreed.

“You have to have two-thirds (votes),” Bradford said. “That’s not two-thirds.”

District D Councilman Michael Roy mentioned a workshop discussion and changes made in the ordinance in order to bring all of the council on board.

“We’ve discussed it,” Bradford said. “Move on.”

However, in checking with the law, Gardner said he has since learned a two-thirds vote is not necessary to pass an ordinance.

A letter from City Attorney Jimbo Yocom with a copy of the law attached, partially reads:

“After researching the question of the number of councilmembers that must vote in the affirmative to adopt an ordinance, the law is clear that a two-thirds majority is not required. The City Charter is silent as to the voting requirements for the adoption of an ordinance. As such, we must turn to the Revised Statutes. Pursuant to La. R.S. 33:406, a simple majority vote of the council is required to effectively adopt the ordinance.

“Consequently, the ‘Mobile Food Vendor’ Ordinance did in fact pass and is lawfully adopted,” the letter concludes.

The new law includes the following:

“Subject to restrictions and limitations set forth in this ordinance, food trucks may operate in parking spaces within the public right-of-way (amended to read public property) on city owned property at locations and times as may be approved by the City Inspection Department in primary control of such property, and in such other areas as may be permitted by the city’s zoning ordinance, paying a food truck fee and having an occupational license. Provided, that food trucks may not operate on the public right-of-way within 100 (amended to 50) feet of the primary entrance of any type of restaurant located within a permanent structure or building.”

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