Landrieu vetoes food-truck ordinance, citing legal concerns

Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday vetoed a recently passed ordinance that would have loosened the rules for the city’s food truck operators.

In his veto letter to Clerk of Council Peggy Lewis, Landrieu said he was striking down the law because it did not appear it would be able to withstand legal challenges that might be brought against it.

“The author of the ordinance (Council President Stacy Head) and its principal proponent (the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition) have stated their belief that elements of the adopted ordinance as amended may be unconstitutional,” Landrieu wrote in his veto letter.

Also, Landrieu wrote, the city attorney opined that the ordinance would not withstand a legal challenge.

“It would be unwise to sign this ordinance into law in its current form when it appears certain that it will be invalidated by the court,” Landrieu wrote.

Five of the seven council members would need to vote to override Landrieu’s veto.

The ordinance passed the council 6-1 on April 18.

During a contentious two-hour debate, Head said she hoped that someone would legally challenge it since she thought several aspects, including restroom requirements and prohibiting trucks from parking within 200 feet of a regular restaurant unless approved by the owners, were unconstitutional.

The matter had been before the council and its committees for months as proponents and opponents debated its details.

Head did not immediately respond Wednesday evening to a request for comment.

While Landrieu decided to veto the ordinance, he wrote that he still “strongly” supports Head and the council’s efforts to update the city code regarding food trucks.

“Accordingly, I have directed my staff to work with the council to immediately address this issue and develop changes which will result in mobile food vending laws which are legal, fair, enforceable and best serve the industry and the people of New Orleans.”