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TEXARKANA, Ark. — Food trucks now may set up in more places than before, thanks to an ordinance approved Monday by the city's Board of Directors.

The ordinance allows food trucks to operate in all commercial and industrial zones, excluding those zoned O-1, office quiet. O-1 zones allow certain nonintrusive businesses to operate within residential areas.

The Board voted five to one in favor of the ordinance and, in a separate vote, an emergency clause making it effective immediately. Ward 2 Director Laney Harris voted no in both cases.

During the discussion, Harris said he would prefer the ordinance to create buffer zones, in which food trucks could not operate, around brick-and-mortar restaurants. He also would prefer a provision to allow food trucks to operate at apartment complexes that are not in the designated zones. Harris proposed returning the ordinance to the city's Planning Commission for revision.

Assistant Mayor Linda Teeters and Ward 5 Director Barbara Miner said they supported the ordinance because it will increase competition in a free market.

Under an ordinance the Board passed in 2018, food trucks and trailers had been allowed to operate only at Front Street Festival Plaza or the southernmost parking area of Bobby Ferguson Park.

The new ordinance does not change the times during which mobile food vendors can be open or their fees and permitting. They can operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Each needs a city permit, which costs $250 per year, as well as valid state health permits.

By law, mobile food vendors must have a commissary where they can get freshwater, dispose of wastewater and clean their equipment. Vendors have the option of using a city-owned commissary at the pavilion in Bobby Ferguson Park for an additional fee of $150 per year.

The Board's next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 4.

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