The City of Fayetteville had seventeen vendors apply for the food truck lottery; six were chosen, and eighteen days later all vendors have been told they don’t qualify.
The permit given in the food truck lottery would allow vendors to sell their food on city property, including streets, parking lots and parks.
Clayton Scott, the owner of Frickin Chicken, said he did his homework when he applied for the lottery. Scott said he read and reread the ordinance, and it didn’t specify what qualified as a food truck.
He said he found out on May 1 that he was a winner, and then he got a call on May 19 from the city saying he was disqualified because he had a trailer and not a truck.
“Lighten up the rules and back off a little bit,” Scott said, “Give us freedom, don’t restrict and constrict the aesthetics and beauty of mobile food vending in Fayetteville.”
City Planning Director Andrew Garner said a food truck has a motor and is mobile, and doesn’t have to be pulled by another vehicle.
Garner said the issue with Scott and the other five winners was that they had trailers. He said the vendors had concession trailers that needed to be pulled by a pick-up, not something like a truck that would be easily maneuvered on a busy city street.
“There’s just safety issues with somebody potentially backing up a big trailer like in a busy urban area trying to pull it into a parallel parking space,” Garner said, “It’s not really conducive to pulling in and out really quickly like you would with a truck.”
Scott said the controversy between a truck and a trailer was never mentioned until he got the call on May 19— eighteen days after he was told he would be getting a permit.
“Now I have $45,000 invested in my trailer,” Scott said, “It was more to invest in that trailer than it was to start this business, so for me to say OK I can’t use the trailer I guess I’ll just sell it and buy a truck… well that is not an option for me.”
Garner said they are now going back through all applications to see if there is anyone who may qualify. Thursday afternoon he said they only had 2-3 vendors left to contact.
He said the permits would only be valid until December 31. He said the city would have another lottery in November for 2015.
As for Clayton Scott, he said he isn’t giving up just yet.
“Only one out of seventeen has qualified or met all the requirements, so that it’s an indicator that what they thought was going to benefit food vending in Fayetteville has backfired,” Scott said.
He said he is planning to appeal the city’s decision as soon as possible.