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Brainerd City Council: Mobile food vendors to be allowed in Brainerd

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Mobile food vendors will be allowed in the city of Brainerd for a trial period, but the specifics have yet to be spelled out.

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Council members unanimously agreed at Monday’s meeting to allow the mobile food vendors but to have the details like permit cost, dates of the trial period and just where the mobile food vendors should be allowed to be hashed out by city staff and a few council members. Those recommendations will be brought back to the whole council at its next meeting.

Discussion of the mobile food truck arose after Prairie Bay restaurant earlier this year bought a truck and started serving customers around town.

Some restaurant owners grew worried about the possible loss of business.

A Mobile Food Unit Committee drafted five options at its February meeting to help solve the problems surrounding the new business concept.

Since, the city of Baxter extended Prairie Bay’s temporary commercial license through June, or until new regulations are adopted.

At the council meeting Monday, councilman Kelly Bevans suggested the city designate a single specific zone where the vendors can set up. Bevans suggested the parking lot behind the Crow Wing Food Co-Op.

Several council members agreed in setting up some type of zone, but not everyone liked the idea of the parking lot behind the co-op. Another idea was near the East Brainerd Mall.

Councilman Dave Pritschet said the city needs to get ahead in the mobile food vendor discussion.

“Food trucks are going to be a reality. It is more beneficial to everyone involved if we get ahead in this,” he said.

Councilman Chip Borkenhagen agreed. There are many people against having these vendors at all, he said, but there are still many people who support them.

“We have to look at both constituents,” he said.

City Planner Mark Ostgarden said he didn’t think setting a specific zone for the vendors would work for a city like Brainerd.

Councilwoman Mary Koep said city staff and council members who are meeting to hash out the details should look deeper into requiring noise control and cleanup of the area of the trucks.

Koep suggested the cost of the permit should be $750, while other council members agreed $200 would be better.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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