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24-hour food trucks a possibility for Powell

Current city ordinances prevent mobile businesses from operating outside of the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brenda and Steve Mattson, owners of the food trailer, Our Back Door, requested the ordinance be changed so they can serve breakfast to locals before they go to work, and for late-night bar patrons after the bars close at 2 a.m. Current city ordinances prevent mobile businesses from operating outside of the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brenda and Steve Mattson, owners of the food trailer, Our Back Door, requested the ordinance be changed so they can serve breakfast to locals before they go to work, and for late-night bar patrons after the bars close at 2 a.m. Tribune photo by Matt Naber

Night owls and early birds could dine late at night or very early in the morning, if the Powell City Council moves forward with a proposed ordinance change to allow 24-hour food service for transient businesses such as food trucks and trailers.

The gears were put into motion when Powell resident Brenda Mattson requested permission to operate a food trailer for patrons leaving the bars at closing time, 2 a.m., and for early morning breakfasts before going to work at 8 a.m.

“We want to be set up for after people are out drinking and partying on Friday and Saturday to get some quality food before going home,” Mattson said. “That need can be filled with a frozen burrito, but we feel we could fill that need. We feel it would serve the community where it isn’t being serviced right now.”

Mattson’s plan is to serve food in the American Legion parking lot, and she said none of the nearby restaurants had a problem with her serving food after 2 a.m. since they shut down their restaurant services several hours before then.

Just a few hours after the bar crowd goes home, Mattson also wants to fire up the stove and oven for the early-morning breakfast crowd before they head to work at 8 a.m.

But, current city ordinances prohibit operation for businesses such as hers outside of the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. timeframe. Restaurants can operate outside those hours, but not mobile businesses.

“I don’t see a solid reason for the government to restrict how you market and when you market your business,” Councilman Eric Paul said during the council’s meeting May 18.

He suggested opening the window to 24 hours since closing at 3 a.m. then reopening at 6 a.m. only prevents a three-hour timeframe.

The reason the ordinance is in place is to prohibit door-to-door salesmen from knocking on city residences at late or early hours, said Powell City Attorney Sandra Kitchen. But, the council can’t change the ordinance in a discriminatory manner.

“If you allow for one, you allow for all,” Kitchen said.

Councilman Jim Hillberry suggested trying out an ordinance change and then reverting back if there are problems.

It would require three readings of the ordinance change before it would go into effect, which means Mattson could end up waiting until late July or early August before extending hours.

“We are ready to go now, but we are willing to wait,” Mattson said.

Councilmen Paul and Josh Shorb were appointed to a subcommittee to speak with  Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt and report back to the council at their next meeting on June 2.

“If I was an officer and someone was serving biscuits and gravy at midnight, I know where I would be sitting,” Shorb said.

The council considered beginning the public reading process immediately so Mattson could begin business earlier than August since her clientele would be outdoors and summer would be the peak of her business time.

Councilmen instructed Kitchen to draft a repeal of hours of operation requirements.

3 comments

  • posted by people know my family

    June 29, 2015 2:38 pm

    i think it is a great idea, other cities have this tis time for Powell to catch up to the rest of the world.

  • posted by Wow

    May 27, 2015 4:45 pm

    Why is this needed to begin with at those hours is beyond me. I hope the council does not change the current ordinance to accommodate this. My biggest concern is opening the door for door to door salesmen at all hours of the day because of one persons greed to feed the drunk. Great idea I think NOT!!

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    May 26, 2015 8:34 am

    Anyone leaving any Powell bar at 2 am is asking for a quick trip to the crow bar hotel.

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