City considering changes to allow mobile food trucks to sell food at 6 spots in town

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The city of Albert Lea is considering a change to its mobile food truck ordinance to allow trucks to park in six different locations throughout the city any day of the week.

City Clerk Daphney Maras said the current ordinance allows licensed mobile food trucks only during special events at the approval of the event coordinator or if they receive permission from a private business to have their truck there.

The city is now considering allowing people to sell food from licensed mobile trucks at the following locations:

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• Three stalls along Washington Avenue next to the splash pad

• Two stalls at the City Beach parking lot

• Two stalls at Bancroft Bay Park

• Two stalls at Frank Hall Park

• Two stalls at the North Broadway parking lot

• Two stalls at the Brookside boat landing

The stalls would be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis each day, and trucks could operate from 11 a .m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, Maras said.

The Albert Lea City Council briefly discussed the issue during its work session before the Monday council meeting.

Maras said a map would be proposed for the specific parking stalls for use and would be updated annually. If a food truck vendor suggests an area not on the map, city staff could consider the request.

Licensed food trucks may continue to park in private commercial lots with the owner’s permission.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker asked if the stalls would be able to rotate through the vendors or if a vendor could potentially claim the same spot every day.

Maras said under what is proposed, whichever food truck arrives first that day would get the spot. This could be reviewed in the future if need be.

Third Ward Councilor Jason Howland asked if there were any negatives to the proposal, and Maras said the only negative she could think of is that it could take away some business from restaurants in the community. 

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. said the biggest thing for him is that the brick-and-mortar businesses pay taxes, but to have the food trucks have to pay a fee makes him feel better about the idea.

Under the proposal, Maras said the city’s fees would remain the same at $250 annually or $25 per day or event. Event coordinators may require an additional fee if a vendor chooses to participate in an event.

Maras said she reached out to the food truck vendors in the area, and people are excited about the opportunity.