Huntersville residents may see more food vendors in the downtown soon.
Last week, town commissioners heard a request to allow temporary mobile food sales in the area zoned town center, which includes town hall and Discovery Place Kids.
Petitioner Charles Guignard also asked for food carts to operate more than two days a week, which is what the current ordinance permits.
"They have a customer base and they want those customers to know where they are," said Commissioner Sarah McAuley.
Guignard owns a Main Street property on which a mobile food vender has operated for years. That operation, outside of a Hispanic grocery store, is currently in violation because food carts are only allowed in the highway commercial zone.
Last summer, Commissioner Danae Caulfield said a business owner asked about putting a food cart in the area zoned town center, which includes the Discovery Place Kids site.
When she directed staff to look into the ordinance, they realized several of the long-standing food cart operations were in violation.
Many were operating seven days a week and some were operating within the area zoned town center, she said.
"If it's going to be on books, we need to enforce it fairly," said Town Manager Greg Ferguson, who added that Huntersville began reinforcing the ordinance in January.
Guignard said he has no intention of bringing a food cart to the Discovery Place Kids site.
"We're just trying to continue to enhance the small business person in town," said Guignard. "This is more about businesses that have been there for years,"
Guignard said although he's heard some concern about how the carts would affect business at downtown restaurants, he doesn't think there would be an adverse effects.
"People who would support food at a food cart are not necessarily people who would walk into a fine dining atmosphere," he said. "It's bringing more people to downtown and supporting existing businesses."
Some commissioners also expressed concern that expanding the area in which food carts can operate might crowd the downtown.
The town is expected to decide whether to expand the ordinance on mobile food units in April.