Tuesday, March 11, 2014
PORTLAND — City officials are considering sweeping changes to Portland's food service industry that could clear the way for food trucks to operate throughout most of the city.
With Portland City Council's approval, food trucks, like this one pictured at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, would be allowed to operate in Deering Oaks, on the Eastern Promenade, at Compass Park on the Maine State Pier and at seven busy locations downtown and on the waterfront.
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
Under a proposal presented Thursday night to the City Council's Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee, food trucks would be allowed to operate in Deering Oaks, on the Eastern Promenade, at Compass Park on the Maine State Pier and at seven busy locations downtown and on the waterfront.
The measure would allow food trucks to operate in all non-residential zones between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Trucks could not be within 65 feet of a restaurant during those hours.
Committee members tabled action on the proposal until June 21 after three major business operators objected to the short notice and to the impact the change would have on their venues.
A representative for the Portland Sea Dogs, who play their home games at Hadlock Field, and officials from the Cumberland County Civic Center and the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Spring Street raised concerns.
The proposal appears to have the support of the committee -- four city councilors attended -- and the so-called Food Truck Task Force that developed the recommendations introduced Thursday night.
"When we sent this issue to the task force, I thought we would need to bring in the police department's SWAT team to moderate those meetings," said Councilor Edward Suslovic, chairman of the committee.
Instead, members of the task force came before the committee to say they had reached consensus. "I think the task force was well balanced, and there was certainly a consensus," said Doug Fuss, who owns Bull Feeney's.
Operators of food trucks -- considered kitchens on wheels -- would be required to pay a standard annual license fee of $500. For trucks that operate overnight, an additional fee of $60 would be charged.
"This is going to open up areas of the city where food has not been allowed before," said Ron Gan, a task force member who operates Skinny Cart Barbecue.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: