PENSACOLA, FL – Reversing course from a month ago, the Pensacola City Council tonight voted down proposed food truck rules, placing the issue’s future in limbo.
The same ordinance which passed last month by a 6-2 vote tonight failed to make it through a second and final reading, with only two of seven council members supporting the measure. Council members Larry B. Johnson and Charles Bare, who each authored food trucks ordinances which were largely merged last month, were the only Council members to support the ordinance tonight. Council members P.C. Wu, Andy Terhaar, Gerald Wingate, Brian Spencer, and Jewel Cannada-Wynn voted no, and Councilwoman Sherri Myers was absent for tonight’s meeting.
Tonight’s decision — or lack thereof — is the latest development in more than two years of debate on the food trucks issue.
A number of downtown business owners vocally opposed the ordinance, including Wilmer Mitchell of Seville Quarter. Mitchell said the ordinance “basically gives the city streets away” to food trucks. Mitchell’s son Buck warned that adopting the ordinance would open a “Pandora’s box” which could lead to mobile clothing boutiques, hair salons, and tattoo parlors.
Johnson said he supported the entrepreneurship of food truck operators. “I believe in the American dream,” said Johnson. “I believe in capitalism, I believe in the free market.”
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