LINCOLN -- More choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner may soon be available in Lincoln from food trucks set up in town.
Lincoln City Council recently adopted an ordinance to establish standards for mobile food vendors.
The council attached an emergency clause to the ordinance at the request of council member Terry Bryson. Bryson said six people have approached him about bringing a food truck into the city. They've been waiting three months on this, he said, and are "ready to go."
The council also adopted an ordinance to establish standards for ice cream trucks that drive through neighborhoods offering frozen treats for sale.
The food truck ordinance defines a mobile food vendor as any wheeled vehicle or trailer that can be attached to a vehicle and moved from place to place to offer retail sale of food and beverages.
The ordinance restricts food trucks to property zoned rural development or business (B-1 and B-2). In addition, food trucks cannot operate within 200 feet of the main entrance to a restaurant in a permanent building.
A vendor is required to apply for a business license. The vendor also has to submit a plan on connecting and disconnecting for water and electricity, food and non-food waste disposal, parking, and vehicle ingress and egress.
A fire safety inspection is required, as well as a license, permit and other inspections from the Arkansas Health Department. Operators are required to show proof of valid liability insurance of $500,000 per person and $1 million per occurrence for injury to or death of a person and $1 million per occurrence for damage to property.
The planning commission administrator, Bryson in this case, will be able to approve food truck applications.
Bryson said Lincoln's ordinance is loosely patterned after one for Siloam Springs.
Council members wondered about restricting the type of food offered by a mobile vendor, but Steve Zega, city attorney, said that would be "constitutionally suspect territory."
Council member Johnny Stowers pointed out the market will dictate what food trucks come into the city.
The ordinance for ice cream trucks uses the same wording as Siloam Springs's ordinance, according to Bryson. Bryson said he talked to the only vendor who already drives an ice cream truck in Lincoln and she did not have any problem with the standards.
Bryson said this ordinance came up because some parents were concerned about who was selling ice cream to their children.
A vendor with an ice cream truck is required to apply for a business license and can operate from 10 a.m. to sundown. All transactions must be conducted from the vehicle's curbside.
The council made one change in the ordinance at the recommendation of council member Michelle Davis.
The original ordinance said the vendor could not have a felony conviction involving a child within the previous 120 months. Davis said she wanted it to say the vendor could "never" have a conviction. The council agreed, so it says the "vendor cannot have a conviction of any felony, any sex offense or any offense involving the maltreatment, abuse or neglect of a child at any time."
In addition, the vendor cannot have a misdemeanor conviction involving physical violence or theft of property within the previous 60 months.
The vendor will be required to attach the results of a criminal background check to the application to operate an ice cream truck, as well as proof of liability insurance.
In other business, the council approved a request to purchase shelving for Lincoln Public Library for about $20,000 from Paper Clip of Siloam Springs and tabled an ordinance to adopt fireworks discharge times in Lincoln.
The council accepted a low bid from Leming and Son for $6,000 to demolish the structure at 312 N. West St. because it has been deemed a public nuisance.
The council declared the property a nuisance at its April meeting and gave the owner 30 days to raze or abate the problems with the structure.
Mayor Doug Hutchins said the property was inspected after 45 days and there was no evidence of improvements.
The city will demolish the building and then file a lien on the property for its costs.