PORTLAND, Maine — The City Council unanimously passed a number of amendments to city code Monday designed to allow and regulate food trucks in the city.
The amendments add food truck vendors to the definition of street vendors and would require each vendor on the peninsula — any area south of Interstate 295 — to park their truck 65 feet from any fixed business and any other vendor. Off the peninsula, vendors must be at least 200 feet from one another.
In order to provide food service in areas where food is otherwise unavailable, the amendment also allows food trucks in industrial zones, where most retail establishments are not allowed.
Portland residents and business leaders joined the discussion of food trucks and the new amendments. Some opposed the regulations out of fear for their possible effects on food truck businesses.
“I think it’s great we’re moving forward, but I think you’re closing a door, not opening one,” said Charles Bragdon, a resident of Portland who said he had experience in the mobile food industry. “You should really go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate.”
Michael Mastronardi of the Whitecap Grille argued against the ordinance as well, but not out of support for a more laissez-faire approach to food trucks.
“The proposed ordinance threatens to transform the downtown culture that these brick-and-mortar restaurants and entrepreneurs have created,” Mastronardi said.
Chris O’Neil, city liaison for the Portland Community Chamber, a local business association, urged the council to approve the amendments and allow food trucks into the city.
“Regarding food trucks, let’s roll,” O’Neil said.
Food trucks parking on the streets would need to follow parking regulations, a restriction Councillor Ed Suslovic said would make it more likely that trucks would set up on private land.
“As long as parking regulations are in place, it will be very difficult to operate,” he said.
Food truck vendors may begin receiving licenses 30 days after the adoption of the amendments.