The Lobstah Buoy food truck in Bangor pictured in April 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

ROCKLAND, Maine ― City councilors in Rockland have unanimously approved creating a more straightforward approval process for food trucks.

The city council voted to expand an existing city ordinance that delineates the approval process for stationary food wagons to include more mobile establishments, like food trucks, as well.  The ordinance amendment ― which goes into effect in 30 days ― clears up what code officials have said is “a gray area” surrounding the process by which food trucks are granted approval in Rockland.

The section of city code where the parameters for food wagons and container restaurants are laid out was written around 2015, and updated as recently as 2018. It is unclear why food trucks have not been addressed previously, but Rockland’s code enforcement officer has said updating city code to include food trucks will better prepare the city as this type of eatery gains popularity.

Several businesses wanting to operate food trucks have approached the city for approval in recent years. Since food trucks are not explicitly mentioned in Rockland’s code, the city has worked individually with business owners to create an approval process based on each operation’s specific circumstances.

With the new ordinance amendment, food trucks will now be routed through the same approval process as food wagons.

If someone wants to operate a food wagon on public or private property, they must submit an application to the planning board, which conducts a site review. The wagon must also pass a health and safety inspection conducted by city code and fire officials to obtain a victualler’s license, which is needed to sell food within the city.

Currently, Rockland has three approved eateries under the food wagons ordinance. All are food trailers that operate in fixed locations.