MESILLA, NM – The future of food trucks in Mesilla is still very much up in the air, after Mesilla trustees put off a decision Monday about whether to even continue discussions on an ordinance allowing vendors to sell food in the town.
Instead, Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza will ask the town’s Planning, Zoning and Historical Appropriateness Commission members, and town attorneys, to provide their opinions about what — and how many — town resources will be needed to develop and then administer an ordinance to govern food trucks and any other mobile food vendors.
There is a lot for town officials to consider, Barraza said, and she is trying to determine how much support the ordinance has from elected officials and administrators.
“I have concerns,” Barraza said. “Who’s going to enforce, who’s going to follow the rules and regulations? But we don’t want to hold back business in Mesilla. I need guidance before we have (town) staff providing more time, more meetings and a public hearing on this.”
Trustees were noticeably split about continuing efforts on an ordinance.
“I think we really have to,” said Mayor Pro Tem Linda Flores. “We need to make sure this is safe for the public. I understand the concerns about traffic on narrow streets and safety; I know there’s a lot of work we need to do. … I don’t think (town government) can legally say they can’t do business. You’re inviting a lawsuit by saying no. These mobile trucks are going to come, and we need to be prepared for them.”
But Trustee Carlos Arzabal disagreed.
“There are eight restaurants in Mesilla, and with the gross receipts (taxes) they pay, they are literally the hands that feed us,” Arzabal said. “I could agree with this if we put a stipulation on this that sets a time food trucks can and can’t operate in Mesilla. If we do it, I’d like to do it after 9 p.m., after the restaurants have closed.”
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