Portland City Council to consider allowing food trucks, with fees and location restrictions

Christophe Ensenat hands Anna Withers dessert crepes to go, at Christophe's Crepes truck in downtown Fairfield, Conn., in June 2012. After four months of work by a Portland, Maine task force and a round of review and recommendations by the planning board, a slate of ordinance changes pertaining to the food trucks was given first reading by the Portland City Council on Monday, July 2, 2012.
Brian A. Pounds, Connecticut Post | AP
Christophe Ensenat hands Anna Withers dessert crepes to go, at Christophe's Crepes truck in downtown Fairfield, Conn., in June 2012. After four months of work by a Portland, Maine task force and a round of review and recommendations by the planning board, a slate of ordinance changes pertaining to the food trucks was given first reading by the Portland City Council on Monday, July 2, 2012.
Posted July 02, 2012, at 9:23 p.m.
Last modified July 03, 2012, at 9:02 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The long simmering question of whether food trucks — traveling vendors who serve meals out of parked trucks — should be allowed in Portland reached the City Council on Monday night.

After four months of work by an issue-specific city task force and a round of review and recommendations by the planning board, a slate of ordinance changes pertaining to the food trucks was given first reading by the council Monday. As a first reading, there was no discussion of the food trucks during the meeting. A second reading and vote is scheduled to take place on July 16.

The proposed ordinance changes came more than two weeks after the city played host to contestants in Food Network’s high-profile reality show “The Great Food Truck Race,” which filmed an episode in Portland in mid-June.

The task force proposal on the table would create fees for the motorized vendors and restrict where in the city they can sell food. The plan would allow food trucks, but would force them to stay at least 65 feet from another vendor or restaurant if set up on the peninsula — defined as south of Interstate 295 — and 200 feet from competitors off the peninsula.

The strategy calls for $500 city fees for food trucks operating during the day and $200 for food trucks open overnight — between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The plan would also open up the city’s Industrial and Recreation/Open Space, or ROS, zones to street vendors, including food trucks.

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