The Portland City Council voted 8-0 Monday night to loosen restrictions on food trucks.

 

A growing number of mobile restaurants have been serving up hamburgers, tacos, lobster rolls and other fare in the city’s downtown area for the past year, part of a national urban food trend.

 

Now they will face lower city fees and looser parking limits, and they will be able to cluster together for the first time. The clustering provision will allow a group of trucks to set up in a central location or at a festival, something that’s common in other cities.

 

The changes were widely supported, including by traditional restaurant operators who said the trucks help feed the city’s reputation for diverse food choices.

 

Under the original rules, for example, food truck operators had to pay $30 for a building permit and $75 for an occupancy permit for operating on private property. The overall fee is now $30 per site.

 

The minimum distances between food trucks were eliminated, but they still have to keep their distance – at least 65 feet – from fixed-base retail establishments.