Back for a second reading before Asheville City Council, new rules allowing food trucks downtown passed 5-2 this evening, Sept. 13. Under the rules, up to 10 food-truck permits can be granted, and each vendor can operate until 2 a.m.
On Aug. 23, Council members voted 4-3 to allow food trucks downtown, overturning a ‘90s-era ban. However, changes to the city’s development rules require five votes or more to be enacted.
Council member Esther Manheimer — who voted to allow food trucks on Aug. 23 — unsuccessfully proposed some significant amendments to the new rules tonight. The first, seeking to halve the number of trucks allowed downtown to five, failed 4-3, with Mayor Terry Bellamy and Council member Jan Davis (both of whom opposed the new rules in the Aug. 23 vote) joining Manheimer. Her second motion, to curb the closing time for food trucks back from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m., failed when no other Council member would second it.
In the end, after city staff said they would look monitor the process in the first year and see if the permit fees were appropriate, the new rules allowing food trucks downtown passed 5-2, with only Bellamy and Davis opposed. At Bellamy’s request, that vote was separated from the portion of the new rules governing food trucks in Asheville outside of downtown, which passed unanimously.
Food truck owners can apply for the new permits immediately.
In other business, Council:
• Unanimously approved allowing the Skyloft development to expand from 69 proposed units to 77. A new developer has taken over the project after the original one folded due to economic troubles. The new proposal keeps the same design but shifts to smaller units and surface parking.
• Unanimously approved new rules allowing planning staff to decide that, in some cases, commercial vehicles are allowed to use residential streets to reach a business, if the alternative involves, for example, putting an entrance across a pedestrian walkway.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter