St. Cloud City Council Meeting Recap 2/11/21


Meeting begins with Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. All Council Members are present.

There were no presentations for this Meeting and when they began the Citizen’s Forum, no citizens chose to speak on any issues.

For the Consent Agenda, City Manager Bill Sturgeon asked for clarification of Item E, which was a task authorization for engineering services with Tetra Tech Inc. for the historic downtown storm water plan.

He wanted to ensure this was for the entire historic grid, not just downtown.

Deputy Mayor Trace asked about Item C, which is a cost share between the City and Osceola County for a traffic signal at Sergeant Graham and Neptune Rd.

He said he is a fan of cost share and hopes it comes out as planned, but noticed the money was coming out of the general fund.

City Manager Bill Sturgeon said that was a good catch and said he will look into maybe taking it from traffic impact fees, and the Deputy Mayor added “or maybe mobility fees”.

The Consent Agenda passed 5-0.

This takes us to Public Hearings, of which there was only one.

The final public hearing for “Emergency Ordinance” 2021-08, am ordinance to change Table III-7 of the Land Development Code to designate Food Trucks as a “Conditional Use” in the Highway Business District.

Many people in the audience tonight asked to speak to this ordinance, as it had made the rounds of local TV media.

All were concerned citizens in favor of the trucks and Food Truck owners.

One citizen and local downtown bar owner Richard Estill, spoke about how unfair and extreme some of the conditions were in the ordinance, and even presented an alternative plan and set of conditions he felt met the needs of all involved.

When the ordinance was opened up for discussion, Councilman Chuck Cooper said he had many questions, beginning with how this “Emergency Ordinance” came to be and who came up with some of the more extreme conditions, which were directed at City Attorney Dan Mantzaris and City Manager Bill Sturgeon.

Mr. Mantzaris reiterated that the ordinance is a result of the state legislature passing HB 1193 back in October and “We” decided we had to take action.

Mr. Cooper ended with saying a lot of the conditions in this ordinance “just don’t make any sense”.

Council Member Linette Matheny stated she has talked to staff repeatedly about looking for an area for the Food Trucks to go.

Deputy Mayor Keith Trace stated he did not like at least 3 of the conditions in the ordinance, including the 1 acre of land requirement, the 500ft. from a “brick and mortar” requirement, and the “1 year on, 2 years off” condition.

Even Mayor Nathan Blackwell chimed in that he did not like many of the same conditions that Deputy Mayor Trace had mentioned, and said he really couldn’t get behind this.

What followed was over an hour of debate back and forth between the Council, with some looking visibly frustrated and even opening the floor back up to public comment, at which time Mr. Estill and another resident, Marshall Rice, addressed the Council with some thoughts.

Once again, the Council debated until they came up with a few things.

They charged Community Development Director Andre Anderson and Staff to look into finding either vacant City property or an investor that could be a permanent place for the Food Trucks.

They also decided to remove the 1 acre land requirement, the 500 ft. from a brick and mortar requirement, and the 1 year on, 2 years off condition in the ordinance.

They also talked about lowering the cost of the permit and decided they would have a “workshop” to discuss a possible “Permitted Use” for the Food Trucks.

The vote on the “Emergency Ordinance”, with the removal of those previously stated 3 conditions passed 4-1, with Council Member Dave Askew voting “No”.

There were no Council Action items for this meeting.

The next meeting will take place Thursday, February 25 at 6:30pm


About Author

Former writer for Osceola News Gazette, current Admin of Save Saint Cloud, Keep Osceola Beautiful, and moderator for Osceola Politics Facebook pages, current Saint Cloud Economic Development Advisory Committee member, current member of the Osceola School Board School Safety Advisory Group, and current candidate for St. Cloud City Council Seat 4.

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