On Tuesday night, the Lawton City Council voted to revise an existing food service ordinance, to include fast-food trucks, defining them as mobile food service establishments under code provisions that will go into effect Aug. 12.

Community Services Director Richard Rogalski said the proposed revisions would help match Lawton's code with state statutes, providing for a temporary permits that would allow food trucks to operate on city-owned properties. The new codes lay-out guidelines for mobile food service establishments, as well as fixed, temporary and seasonal establishments, specifying what may be required, include locations, permission from property owners and what foods can be served. Food trucks would be divided into preparation and sales, and sales only, with different criteria for each category.

Other changes include updated provisions for food handling permits and certifications, while a related item sets a new price structure for fixed restaurants and add provisions for mobile, temporary and seasonal food establishment licenses.

One dissenting opinion was voiced during the council meeting. Local businessman Sterling Bailey, who operates a catfish food truck, said city regulations are not applied equally, and that he has been "harassed" by the local health department. He claimed that the unequal enforcement was based on his race, noting that he is the first African-American to set up a mobile restaurant business in Lawton, and that he has not been treated the same as other mobile businesses. Council member Dwight Tanner was the lone opposing vote in the 7-1 decision.

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source: The Lawton Constitution