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SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven council members agreed to send a convoluted food truck ordinance to the city’s planning commission for review.

City Manager Kate Hosier told the city council the ordinance can be tough to decipher. Last year, staff and the city attorney began a comprehensive review of the city code, with the aim of bringing potential ordinance amendments to the council in 2022.

“We were looking at the codification of ordinances and got to the food truck ordinances. It needs some updating,” Hosier said. “We know this ordinance was drafted in 1998 and amended in 2002. It’s very restrictive and not up to date. We would like to look at what is being done in other cities versus what we currently have.”

It now heads to the planning commission, which will review and make a recommendation as to whether the city should amend the mobile food vendor ordinance.

However, some local food truck owners present for Monday’s council meeting were looking for more from the council.

Monique Crowley, who runs a food truck called Fruit Street Kitchen, asked the council to commit to extending the food vendor season to a year-round timetable.

“We would like to have it amended to include year-round vending,” she said Monday. “You guys made me fight to run my business. The ordinance wasn’t meant to be discriminatory, but it was.”

The current ordinance limits food vending licenses to the period between April 1 and Oct. 31.

“The time restriction is under consideration,” said Mayor Scott Smith. “This will be a process to review the whole thing. It is difficult to read. I’ve read through it. It could stand to be streamlined. The fee structure needs to be reviewed as well.”

Crowley and others are also seeking an amendment that would allow food trucks in areas of the city where they are prohibited.

Under the current ordinance, food trucks can only operate on private property in the B-2 General Business District and B-4 Major Thoroughfare Business District – subject to a license issued by the city clerk.

It’s considered a violation of the city code to operate food trucks in the Central Business District and residential districts.

Crowley previously attempted to station her food truck on the city’s south side by her home on Fruit Street. However, Crowley was told they did not meet the criteria for the city’s ordinance.

Council member Letitia Wilkins said she supports Crowley and her food.

“I apologize to Miss Monique. We don’t want her to feel like we’re against her,” Wilkins said. “We as a city have to do better.”

Once the ordinance goes to review with the planning commission, any recommended changes go back to the city council for considerations.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @Tony Wittkowski