BRAINERD, MN – For the second time since being elected as Brainerd mayor in 1998, James Wallin has chosen to use his power of veto.

On Thursday, Wallin returned the two ordinances approved by Brainerd City Council Monday night governing “transient food units” – including trucks, trailers, wagons, carts and seasonal temporary food stands – without his signature. Wallin said the ordinances have the potential to damage business for brick-and-mortar restaurant establishments. He also feels the city council usurped the parks and recreation board’s authority by allowing food trucks in the parks without requiring board approval.

“The areas we had specified last year for trial purposes worked out well and we really didn’t have any complaints,” Wallin said in a phone interview Friday. “We need to support our businesses that pay taxes for the establishments.”

The new ordinance would expand the areas where food trucks are allowed, including into city parks, and would establish a 300-foot buffer around brick-and-mortar restaurants or bars that serve food. Wallin said this would allow trucks to park too close and siphon business from these establishments.

To overturn the veto by the mayor, the council must again pass both the ordinance outlining the permitted boundaries, hours of operation and uses and the ordinance amending the zoning map with overlay districts with a two-thirds majority, or 5-2. The first ordinance passed 5-2 Monday night, while the second was a unanimous decision.

Wallin said he would “hate to second guess our seven elected officials,” but he would be sending a memo to council members explaining why he vetoed.

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