MESILLA, NM – Restaurant owners and food truck chefs are equally puzzled about the recent decision by town of Mesilla to impose a 120-day moratorium on issuing business licenses to mobile food vendors while town officials figure out how to best address what has been, until now, a largely unregulated dining niche around the historic plaza.
On one hand, restaurants have invested heavily in promoting Mesilla as a tourist destination. On the other, the food truck scene in Las Cruces is booming and vendors feel they should have a clear path to request licenses to sell their wares in Mesilla as they do in Las Cruces.
Mesilla officials last week said they need to address the issue through ordinances to determine how to regulate and charge the mobile businesses.
The moratorium will not apply to special events, such as the Cinco de Mayo fiesta on the plaza, said Mesilla’s special events coordinator, Irene Parra.
In her call for the moratorium, Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza said several food vendors have applied for licenses to sell from food trucks at hours when Mesilla restaurants are closed. There is currently no ordinance to address the issue, and considerations include registration costs and what regulations and requirements would be needed as well as where vendors would be allowed to park. Barraza said the moratorium would allow staff time to research policies in other communities and craft a plan.
Meanwhile, food truck vendors are waiting to see what the future holds.
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