Monroe City Council looks at food trucks, zoning and hears about - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Monroe City Council looks at food trucks, zoning and hears about crime

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - On Tuesday night, the city council voted to introduce ordinances pertaining to the new grocery stores, including zoning, and alcohol permits. And they also voted to consider new permits that would give food vendors more opportunities. But none of these were the real talkers on Tuesday night.

It wasn't on the agenda, but during the public participation portion of the meeting one concerned citizen spoke out about Monroe's violent crime. As he talked about recent events, the mood visibly changed in the room. And he even questioned the need for a new arena, when the money could be better used stop the escalating crime rate.

"If we don't have safety and security in this city, for its citizens and businesses, then our property values and everything and everyone in this town is working for, is going to go downhill. It is just as simple as that," the man said.   

Even though this man said there is more the city can do to stop the crime, Councilman Kenneth Wilson says the citizens are the key to solving the problem.

"Basically we need community neighborhood watches, house to house, sharing each other ideas, watching out for your neighbor, being a good neighbor. Of you see something, say something, "Wilson said.   

In other news, the council considered several requests for alcohol permits. One came from the company that provides concession at ULM events. This request was met with opposition from one audience member, but the council granted the request after noting the university was in favor of it.

The council also considered requests for alcohol permits and changes in zoning for the two new grocery stores. One of the grocery stores will be developed on McKeen Place near North 18th Street, and the other will be located on Desiard near ULM. The identity of these new grocery stores has yet to be released.

And the council also voted to introduce an ordinance that will give the food vendors more opportunities, but the ordinance has restrictions. They include no alcohol sales and the mobile units cannot set up with 150 feet from a permanent restaurant.

"It’s still a restriction. But again when you pass a law, you can't make everybody happy and we tried to make as many people happy as we could. So I accept that," Councilman Ray Armstrong said.    

The feet restriction on the food vendors was met with some opposition. One food vendor in attendance says it’s not the government's place to protect one business while hindering another.

 Councilman Wilson says he disagrees, that small businesses should have to deal with the competition.

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