Food trucks and the city of Garrison may soon be coming to an agreement.
Following advice from the city attorney, the Garrison City Council agreed May 11 to draft an ordinance for the allowance of food trucks in the city proper.
At the beginning of the discussion at the council meeting, Mayor Loren Larson said he had been told that if the food truck is located on private property within the city, Garrison doesn’t have a say if it’s there.
“They are responsible for any licensing, health issues, etc.,” Larson explained.
The arguments continued from some council members regarding the impact that the food trucks could have on restaurants in the city. Kristi Risnes, who has been behind protecting the Garrison businesses from the start of the discussion, said that she didn’t want anything “taking away from our tax-paying businesses.”
Larson agreed, but also added that the businesses needed to include more than just the restaurants.
Another council member pointed out that food trucks could actually draw business into the city, as people will stop for something to eat from a food truck – and then stay, perhaps, to do shopping.
Council member Suzanne Foster added that non-profits, like churches, sell brats and soda during the summer, and “it doesn’t seem like anyone’s had any issues with that.”
It was also pointed out during the meeting that food trucks are not a problem unique to Garrison. Several area communities, including Aitkin and McGregor, routinely have food trucks stop and sell food.
Council member Darlene Stigen made the motion for city staff to draft an ordinance, which was approved.
In other action at the city council meeting:
• A public hearing was held for a conditional-use permit for Tutt’s Bait and Tackle to place a large, billboard-type sign along Hwy. 18. The permission for the sign was denied.
Risnes asked simply, “Do we want to become a billboard community?”
It was also pointed out that the large sign could potentially contribute to distractions along the road.
“I don’t think we need anymore distractions,” said Foster.
• The council approved a motion to make road repairs at the intersection of Adams and Washington Avenues. The cost of the work is estimated at $13,350.
• Garrison Fire Chief Bruce Breun gave an update on fire calls in April. The department responded to 29 fires, including six wildland fires.
The council also accepted a $4,000 donation from the Garrison Fire Relief Organization.
• Contracts for renewing worker’s compensation insurance (for a decrease of $981) and renewing property/casualty insurance (an increase of $240) were approved.
• The council also approved sending a letter to the owner of the property next to Alliance Church, asking that person to clean up the property.