Monrovia officials have agreed to repeal a ban the city placed on food trucks operating in Old Town as (SoCalMFVA), an attorney for the association told Patch Thursday.
As part of the settlement, city officials have agreed to repeal eight key provisions of a 2010 ordinance that banned food trucks from Old Town and restricted their operation throughout the city, SoCalMFVA attorney Kevin Behrendt said.
"Monrovia agreed to repeal the eight sections of the statute that the association challenged," Behrendt said. "The outcome is what we wanted."
Since the City Council cannot directly agree to pass or repeal legislation outside of a public meeting, the agreement requires city staff to recommend the repeal of the ordinance to the council, Behrendt said.
Councilman Tom Adams said in a telephone interview Thursday that he has not seen the settlement agreement and was only told that its finalization was imminent when the City Council met in closed session about the subject on Tuesday. He said the city's legal counsel recommended that the city settle to save money fighting the suit in court.
"It does unfortunately get down to weighing the economic side of it," Adams said. "Our advice was that it would be cheaper to not fight this than it would to fight it."
City Attorney Craig Steele did not immediately return messages left with his secretary and on his cell phone voicemail. His secretary said he is out of town Thursday.
Steele reviewed the ordinance before it was passed by the City Council, and Adams said that he didn't believe the legal advice the council received was necessarily incorrect when the city passed the law. Steele's law firm, Richards Watson & Gershon, also defended the city in the lawsuit.
SoCalMFVA sued Monrovia after the City Council passed an ordinance in 2010 that barred food trucks from operating in Old Town and other parts of the city. The group because the city was unfairly protecting the interests of local small businesses at the expense of mobile vendors.
Adams said that the settlement does not amount to an admission by the city that its ordinance was illegal. And the city is not trying to keep food trucks out of town, he said.
"It's not that we’re trying to keep lunch trucks out of Monrovia, we’re just trying to have a little sense with them," he said. "Every time you go to make a change you hope you’re doing the right thing. Every now and then we get stung on something and we have to go back and undo it but I’d rather be in a position to undo a few mistakes then not do some of the great things that have changed Monrovia."