It could be several months -- maybe even a year -- before York City resolves its mobile-food debate.

Since September, members of the York City Council have been discussing a proposal to allow more hand-operated food carts in an expanded area of York City. The most recent version of the proposal would increase the number of cart licenses from one to six and expand the food-cart district to several blocks surrounding Continental Square.

As word of the proposal reached restaurant owners and interested members of the public, it triggered "a firestorm of conversation," Council President Carol Hill-Evans said.

So, in the interest of getting it right, the council decided at its work session Wednesday to partner with Downtown Inc and create a new committee charged with the task of studying the issue and delivering a recommendation to the council.

Hill-Evans said she'd like the committee's input within a year. Other council members suggested a shorter time frame of three or six months.

Those details could be worked out when the council votes formally in January to outsource the debate.

Councilman David Satterlee said his opinion about the proposal hasn't changed. He wants to open York City to food trucks and more food carts.

But, he said, there are many stakeholders with different views on the matter.

"We felt like we had to honor some of the dissenting voices," Satterlee said. "Because of that, we went back to the drawing table."

-- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.