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Columbia City Council to consider downtown food trucks, alcohol hours

Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:00 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 7, 2014
Bryan Maness, left, and Holly Maness operate the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. in Mojo's parking lot during happy hour on Friday. Bryan Maness has been waiting to be able to park and sell his food from the street. The Columbia City Council is looking into a new ordinance that would allow food trucks to sell on the street in specific locations. The ordinance will be introduced on Monday.

COLUMBIA — Two proposed ordinances that would extend where food trucks can park and the hours that sidewalk cafes can serve alcohol will be introduced to the Columbia City Council in a meeting Monday.

The Downtown Community Improvement District Board is requesting the ordinances. The Community Improvement District generates an extra half-cent sales tax to raise funds for projects within the district. The board decides what the funds are used for and also works with city staff to draft ordinances that would benefit the district.

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The board hopes the ordinances will bring more business downtown, said Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Downtown CID Board.

"You know a lot of what makes the district popular is a lively street culture," she said.

The improvement district measured areas around restaurants and found there were blocks between restaurants with no food options. Gartner said those areas are ideal for food trucks.

"Food trucks create connections for pedestrians (between restaurants)," she said.

Under the proposed food-truck ordinance, eight spaces would be designated for food trucks on Cherry Street, eight on Locust Street and 10 on Walnut Street.

The second proposed ordinance would extend the hours alcohol can be served on sidewalk cafes downtown from 10 p.m. to midnight, and extend the hour by which all alcohol served by the cafe must be consumed from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. The proposal would also allow alcohol to be purchased in sidewalk cafes without an accompanying food order, according to a document submitted to the council.

With this ordinance, sidewalk cafes would not have to kick people out if they do not finish drinking their alcohol by 11 p.m., Gartner said.

Both ordinances are restaurant oriented and "designed to create economic vitality," she said.

The ordinances will be introduced to the council Monday and will go through the first read, to be voted on at a later date.


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