Columbia aldermen approve mobile food vendor ordinance

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - There's good news coming out of Columbia, just in time for summer. During Columbia's Board of Aldermen meeting on Friday, city leaders approved the first mobile food vendor ordinance for the city.

"During the last administration, a couple of people came over asking about us implementing a mobile food vendor ordinance," city attorney Lawrence Hahn said.

Hahn said since then, they've had multiple people come to the board requesting to sell food from mobile vendors in the city, but there was no ordinance in place.

"It got discussed a lot during the last administration, but I think it kind of ran over towards the end of that administration and it just did not get adopted," Hahn said. "And so when the new board came on and it got brought up again, and we started looking at it again."

According to the ordinance, which is limited to food and beverages, vendors can only operate on Monday and Thursday between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. with approval from the Board of Aldermen and the proper permits.

Hahn said right now vending is only available in two areas: Second Street west of Main Street and in designated areas of the Interpretive Plaza. He said over time the city plans on expanding, but they want to take things slow starting out.

"It's kind of, you know, walking a line between offering new things that people want and would enjoy, but also respect the things that are already here," Hahn said.

Nick Ingram with Main Street Columbia said they've be pushing for mobile food vending for almost two years and is excited about the progress. He said over the years, they've lost several restaurants from downtown, and this is the first big step to bring more tourism to Main Street.

"So to be able to have the impact to reach out to mobile food vendors who already have a truck, already have the resources to set up in downtown one day a week and provide food and bring traffic or at least stop some of the traffic that's traveling through downtown, it's going to be a huge impact."

You can view the full ordinance below:

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