Andrew and Lee Judge pose with their Sugar Belle Cupcake Truck earlier this year. (Matt Wake |

- The Rocket City's just got some more goodnews.

At its meeting last Thursday night, the Huntsville CityCouncil amended the zoning ordinance to allow food trucks in most commercialareas across the city, including downtown, John Hunt Park and JetplexIndustrial Park near the airport.

A rule adopted earlier this year let mobile eateries set up downtown- but .

The zoning change, which passed unanimously, welcomes foodtrucks to operate seven days a week downtown and in areas zoned highwaybusiness, commercial recreation, light industry, heavy industry or commercialindustrial park.

There are a few conditions, however.

While food trucks can open at 6 a.m. and serve until 2 a.m.Thursday through Sunday - they will have to close by 10 p.m. other nights --the city is requiring them to park at least 100 feet from the nearest sit-down restaurant.

Also, food trucks will have to make arrangements for restroomfacilities that meet health department guidelines. And they cannot park inloading zones or public rights-of-way.


Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver. (File photo)

City Councilman Will Culver, a former Huntsville policeofficer, said allowing food trucks to stay open after the bars close at 2 a.m.could help reduce drunk driving. Someone who eats right after leaving a bar "wouldslow the absorption of alcohol into their bloodstream," Culver said at Thursday'smeeting. "And that means they may not have an accident."

Ashley Nichols, an urban planner with the city, said 2 a common curfew in cities that Huntsville studied when drafting its foodtruck proposal.

Just two people spoke about food trucks at Thursday's publichearing. City government watcher Jackie Reed and Isaiah Ashe, a former MadisonCounty Health Department inspector, both questioned whether the health departmenthas the manpower to properly inspect food trucks as well as sit-downrestaurants.

"The health department doesn't have that many employees,"said Ashe. "Do we have adequate personnel to handle it?"

There are currently less than a dozen licensed food trucks inHuntsville including On-On Tacos, Food Fighters Bustaurant, Badd Newz BBQ andSugar Belle Cupcake Truck.

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