Pflugerville City Council instructed city staff Sept. 26 to assist a local food-truck operator in finding a new location after council declined to amend an agreement that would have allowed the truck to stay on the city-leased property.

The gist

City staff and council members have held discussions over the last month about whether the city should allow food trucks on property it has a lease for at 103 N. Railroad Ave., Pflugerville.

Although a local food truck, A Touch by Tonya, has been operating on the empty lot behind Three Legged Goat in the downtown area, the lease between the city and property owners, D.J.R. Investments, does not include a provision to allow food trucks.

Place 4 Council Member Rudy Metayer initially motioned for council to approve a lease amendment that would have allowed food trucks to operate on the property during city-sponsored events. However, the motion failed, at which point council then voted to allow the city manager to assist A Touch by Tonya owner Tonya Alexander to find a new place to operate out of by Oct. 23.

The details

The changes to Pflugerville’s food truck areas came after the city purchased property where several were operating this summer, causing them to look for new spaces.

Alexander said her food truck had not been at the new location outside of Three Legged Goat for even a month, adding she is concerned that having to move again might close down her business.

“There’s a lot more that's entailed to moving a trailer—a mobile trailer,” Alexander said. ”We have to keep in consideration electricity and water and just all of that, so it's not just pick up and go.”

Several small-business owners spoke at the meeting on behalf of their storefronts, noting that permissions had been given previously from property owners to amend the lease, while the food truck operators indicated they had obtained $2 million in liability coverage.

Current city regulations specify that food trucks are able to operate on private property with property owner consent. The property in question is privately owned but leased by the city, thus requiring an amendment to the current lease agreement to include vendor use.

However, Metayer said there are “a lot of legal wranglings that the public may or may not be aware of regarding this issue.”

“I do believe it serves a purpose for not just the city, but all of our citizens, to have the ability to have food trucks there, and right now we do not have that ability,” he said. “So if you’re asking me to [approve] an addendum to have that at least for our events, or have nothing at all, which is currently what the lease says, my idea is to make sure that we have an addendum at least for specific events.”

After Metayer’s motion to allow food trucks on the property for special events failed, council then voted to help Alexander find a new location for her truck.

Alexander said while she appreciates the city offering to assist her in relocating, she is concerned about the practicality of choosing an alternate location.

“There is more that they have to take in consideration than saying ‘How about Pflugerville Lake?’ Tell me how many people eat smothered pork chops, collard greens, red beans and rice at a lake?” Alexander asked. “I just don't want the city to just brush me off.”