Columbia considers mobile food vendor ordinance

Columbia considers mobile food vendor ordinance
photo credit: wdam

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Columbia's Board of Alderman are once again thinking about working in a mobile food vendor ordinance.

"I do think that we need to look more at that mobile food vending ordinance," Mayor Justin McKenzie said. "I need you all to just come down here during the week and let's really look at that."

McKenzie made those remarks after a gentleman from Rajun Cajun off Highway 98 in Columbia came in to the last board meeting to discuss an issue he had with an individual selling seafood out of an ice chest right in front of his business.

City attorney Lawrence Hahn said that after reaching out to the Department of Marine Resource, cities have no jurisdictional authority to regulate fresh seafood sales.

"The Mississippi Department of Health has some jurisdictional authority over regulations that deals with those type sales, but those sales do not fall under Mississippi's transient vendor statue," Hahn said.

Hahn said that while the city can't deny those type sales, they are working on ways to better regulate them, which falls back to a mobile food vendor ordinance. Right now, there is nothing in the ordinance regarding mobile food vendors.

He said the idea has come up in the past, but was shelved from previous administrations due to push back from businesses.

"When the gentlemen came and discussed his concerns about non-brick and mortar sales in the city and what that does to brick and mortar businesses, we began talking about it again," said Hahn.

However, with recent requests from people asking to bring in a mobile food vendor, city leaders said they will consider an ordinance by studying specific locations, times, dates and other topics to better regulate mobile food vendor sales in the future that will satisfy all business owners.