Food trucks have become a contentious issue in Cedarburg this year.

On one side of the coin are those who believe they disrupt existing businesses in the city. Others see the merits of allowing them to operate in the city under certain conditions.

At the Monday, Nov. 28, common council meeting, Economic Development Board presented the Cedarburg Common Council with a list of ordinances to consider, including limiting the trucks to lunch hours on weekdays, restricting them from areas within the historic district or within 100 feet of similar businesses.

The conversation began this past May when the Economic Development Board voted to recommend to the Common Council that food trucks be banned in Cedarburg. Several Development Board members and local business owners have argued that food trucks are detrimental to other businesses in the area.

Steve Leonard, father of Sal's Pizza owner Christian Leonard, wrote a letter to Common Council member John Czarnecki about food trucks in the city, arguing that they "take unfair economic advantage of public areas to the detriment of a thriving Cedarburg."

In June, the common council discussed the recommendation and decided that while they disagreed with a complete ban, they did see the merit of ordinances being put in place out of fairness to both restaurant and food truck owners.

According to Common Council member Jack Arnett, the issue stems from an outdated ordinance from years ago regarding hot dog carts.

"Back when this was written, food trucks were hardly a thing that people talked about," said Arnett. "Hopefully these new ordinances can be put in place to clear up some of the grey area of what is allowed."

At the September 28 Economic Development Board meeting, Arnett, Mayor Kip Kinzel, and most of the board opposed the outright ban and saw the economic merits of allowing food trucks to operate in the community under certain conditions.

Council member Czarnecki was the main opposing voice in the discussion, calling food trucks a "zero sum game" and that "vitality is lost if restaurants close."

The council tabled the list of proposed ordinances and will revisit them at a future date.

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