A new committee of restaurateurs, street-food enthusiasts and economic-development pros has formed to build consensus around the idea of mobile food vendors in York City.
They will aim to deliver recommendations to the York City Council by September, said Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, which is leading the group.
For several months last year, the council considered overhauling an existing ordinance passed in 2011 that opened Continental Square to one licensed food-cart vendor.
The council was moving toward allowing more hand-operated food carts in an expanded area of the city. But not everyone agreed that was a good idea -- particularly the owners of some brick-and-mortar restaurants, who expressed concerns at meetings in December.
So, the council decided to partner with Downtown Inc to create a committee charged with studying the mobile-food issue.
The 11-member committee will meet for the first time next week. It will be considering options for food trucks as well as carts, Huntzinger said.
The idea, Huntzinger said "is to sort of put all agendas aside" and look at the issue from a 30,000-foot view.
"It's going to be an exercise in building consensus," she said.
Members of the committee include councilmen Michael Helfrich and David Satterlee; Jeremiah Anderson, manager of the White Rose Bar and Grill; Ken Diaz, who co-owns Tasa, a new Filipino food stand in Central Market; Bill Greenawalt of Simply Soup in Central Market; Philip Given, a co-founder of FoodStruck; Jordan Pfautz, a food-truck operator and co-founder of the Central Pennsylvania Mobile Food Association; Natalie Williams, Downtown Inc's small business liaison; Jim Gross, director of York City's public works department; Shilvosky Buffaloe, acting director of York City's economic and community development department; and Huntzinger.
Council President Carol Hill-Evans said she's eager to hear the committee's ideas.
Hill-Evans said she definitely wants to nix the lottery system the city uses to choose one vendor among several applicants for the single license each year.
"We know we're not going to satisfy everybody. But if we can come up with some kind of good middle ground, I think that'll be good for us," Hill-Evans said.
-- Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.