Local Food Trucks Seek Looser Permit Laws

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The City of Fayetteville is considering loosening laws on mobile food vendors, just months after the chicken war was won by a mobile food truck near KFC.

To open a food truck in Fayetteville, the owner must submit to an approval process. There's an application, a fee and the permit, if issued, is only valid for 90 days in one location. However, the city is considering extending the permit time to 180 days.

The Fayetteville City Council is set to discuss the proposed ordinance at next Tuesday's agenda session meeting. The proposal comes a few months after KFC complained to the city about the presence of mobile food vendor Frickin' Chicken near the chicken restaurant. City leaders voted to allow Frickin' Chicken to stay at the location, despite KFC's claims that it hurt their business.

Eric Gallomore owns Nomad's Natural Plate on Dickson Street. The food truck serves Greek and Mediterranean sandwiches. Gallomore said the more time he spends in the Nightbird Books parking lot, the better his business will do financially.

"We've gone from just doing small amounts of sales to really boosting our income," Gallomore said. "Being able to stay here in this spot is nice, for everyone else too because they don't have to come find us every day."

If vendors want to stay longer in their designated spots, they need to apply for a city variance and convince city leaders to approve the extension, a system that would be scrapped if the less-restrictive proposal is passed by the City Council.

"We were kind of nervous about getting our-year permit just because we had to go before the City Council and state what we were doing and how it can benefit us," Gallomore said.

The Fayetteville City Council plans to discuss the mobile vendor issue next week and decide whether to place the proposed measure on its agenda for the following meeting.

"We want to be easy to deal with, and in the other sense, we want to keep things looking orderly," said city council member Adella Gray.

According to city records, there are 13 mobile vendors in the city. Gray said the City Council also wants to look at placing a limit on the number of permits issued.

"A few people say to me, 'You know, I don't want every time I pull on to a big lot to see a truck there selling,' so we're just trying to look at all sides of the issue like we always do," Gray said.

The Fayetteville City Council will also look at whether food truck owners would be required to have restrooms, as well as the relationship between restaurants at permanent locations and mobile vendors.