At a special called city council meeting May 31, Montgomery City Council voted against enacting a moratorium on permits for food trucks as defined under Chapter 64 of the city's code of ordinances. During the public comment period of the meeting, community members spoke against the moratorium, which would have prevented 16-year-old Jacob Irving from opening his food truck despite already paying the permit fee.
Irving, whose food truck Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog is set to open June 3, had the council chamber full of supporters wearing yellow shirts with his restaurant logo and speaking in support of him during public comment. Irving said during the meeting that the moratorium would prevent him from opening even though he already paid the permit fee and was less than a week away from having his permit approved.
“I was shocked when I learned that there's a moratorium proposing to be passed that will be placed on new permits, and that my own city would break down the spirit of a young entrepreneur; that the city elected officials might appear to be anti-business and anti-youth,” Irving said at the meeting.
Mayor Byron Sanford said a new ordinance in regard to food trucks is necessary because the current one has been in effect since 1996; however, Council Member T.J. Wilkerson and Council Member Casey Olson moved to vote against the moratorium, stating Irving has met the permit qualifications so there is no reason to prevent him from opening, and the two new council members—Olson and Cheryl Fox—are not yet versed on the ordinance.
“The fact is this moratorium and all this, it questions my integrity in the people that elected me to serve,” Olson said at the meeting.
Montgomery City Council previously voted against changing the city ordinance related to food trucks at its Nov. 9 meeting, which would have required mobile food trucks to move every 48 hours and be within 300 feet of a restroom. The ordinance failed in a 3-2 vote with then-council members Kevin Lacy, Wilkerson and Julie Davis voting against it, and Sanford and Council Member Carol Langley voting to approve the ordinance. At the May 31 meeting, Wilkerson moved to vote against the moratorium and Olson seconded the motion, with the moratorium ultimately failing.