Fayetteville City Council members again voted Tuesday night to delay deciding the fate of mobile food vendors, but the owner of one popular local chicken truck went ahead and decided to open his own restaurant near Dickson Street.
Clayton Scott, owner of the Frickin Chicken food truck, said he is raising money to open a location at a permanent building on West Spring Street. He has raised $1,000 so far out of his $25,000 goal, but state officials have already granted his new location a liquor license, according to Alcohol Beverage Control documents.
"I don't care what I have to do," Scott said. "I will take money out of my IRA or sell everything I have. I will be in a brick and mortar the second week in March."
The City Council voted Tuesday night to table a discussion on a proposed ordinance concerning how long mobile food trucks can stay on certain properties. Council members have been mulling a proposed ordinance on the issue since last year, tabling it at the last several council meetings.
"There is a little bit of uncertainty, because the rules are not clear as of right now," Scott said. "Things are in a state of flux right now."
City leaders will address the food truck issue in February and try further to formulate an ordinance, they said Tuesday.
Frickin Chicken will still keep its food truck, in addition to its new planned permanent location.
Changes to the food truck ordinance over the last seven months have come with controversy, as some local restaurant owners do not want food trucks nearby. Some have said the mobile vendors hurt their business. Food truck owners, meanwhile, want to be able to spend more time in one location. Neither side saw a resolution Tuesday night.
Until a conclusion is reached, Scott has a message for mobile food vendors.
"Believe in your product," Scott said. "Believe in what you are doing. Have a vision for it. Be tenacious. Don't give up and do whatever it takes to hang in there."
The Frickin Chicken food truck was embroiled last summer in a dispute with KFC, in which KFC management urged the Fayetteville Planning Commission to deny Frickin Chicken's request for an extension to continue service at a parking lot across the street and up the block from a Fayetteville KFC location.
Joseph A. Morrow with KFC/BRM Foods called the food truck a "conflict of interest to our success."
The Planning Commission granted Frickin Chicken an extension to stay at the location later the same month. Its permit with the city was scheduled to expire the following month. The extension allowed the food truck to continue using the location for at least nine additional months.
Mobile food vendors sought later in the year to obtain permits allowing them to keep food trucks in one spot for longer than had previously been allowed. City leaders later extended the permit period from 90 days to six months.
Additional changes to the food truck ordinance, discussed by council members over the last several months, could include allowing vendors to operate daily on private property. A proposed ordinance could also create an extended permitting process to allow vendors to operate in the same location for as long as a year, according to staff recommendations made in city documents.