SCARBOROUGH — While food truck regulations in Scarborough are in the very early stages of discussion, one restaurant owner asked the Long Range Planning Committee to consider her point of view.

On Dec. 6, Long Range Planning Committee staff member Karen Martin said that she is in the beginning process of working with different areas in town on an ordinance proposal for potential food truck business.

Susan Bayley-Clough, who co-owns four different restaurants in town with her husband, said that she’s not against food trucks in Scarborough, but she wants to make sure the town considers food trucks in the same way that “brick and mortar” restaurants are considered.

Parking, for example, is one of the biggest issues that every restaurant — and business — faces when setting up shop, she said. Right now, she pays the town each year to keep a certain number of parking spaces for her restaurant in the Pine Point area.

“Scarborough doesn’t even designate the parking spaces,” she said. “We pay money for them, but I don’t even know where they are. I’m okay with that because we all have to share, depending on the time of day. But if someone were to put a food truck in the parking lot and suddenly use the parking spaces that I rent, it would be an issue.”

One option Martin’s group thought about was having various food trucks revolve on different days of the week.

A food truck might have difficulty making a profit on the beach, Bayley-Clough said. It wouldn’t make sense to be a revolving business in an area that relies on nice weather.

“It’s either 100 percent or nothing,” she said. “Because people don’t go down to the beach when it’s pouring rain or when it’s cold. So we’re either very busy or not working at all, and I have a unique ability to deal with that because I have other businesses there, so I can pull employees and put them some place else during the rain. What they would have to do is rent that space to the same person for an entire season for it to make sense. We’re not opposed to things like that.”

Bayley-Clough also expressed concern about the planning board processes that she and her husband had to go through to get their businesses approved by the town.

If a food truck that has been at one location for a period of time decides to become a permanent fixture, would that owner have to go through the same process as a restaurant that started out as a brick-and-mortar location did? she asked.

“I personally would like to see an ordinance that treats food trucks like any other business,” Bayley-Clough said. “You’re already providing all of the things that another restaurant has to provide. That’s just how it is.”

She said that she is empathetic to other restaurant owners in Scarborough.

“I think the one other thing is that when people choose to purchase a property to open a restaurant, that’s a long-term goal,” she said. “If suddenly a food truck comes in after you’ve made that decision, you’re affecting their property value. You’re affecting the employees and a lot of things for these people. So I feel strongly for people in this area. If you’re on Route 1 and you’re running a restaurant, you already know who your competitors are and you know the zoning. If suddenly food trucks pop up, my property value isn’t what it was before.”

Martin said that she and her working group have been looking at local examples, like Portland, for ideas on how to word a future ordinance.

“It’s going to work differently than it is in Portland,” she said. “There’s a different interest.”

“In Portland, they’re either cruise ships, tourists or their business people having lunch,” Bayley-Clough said. “We’re different here because there’s no cruise ships. It’s a tough gig doing beaches because it’s all or nothing.”

The committee also noted how different the parking situation is in Portland than Scarborough. Visitors and residents in Scarborough expect to park next to or close to the business or restaurant they’re visiting, but in Portland, most people expect to walk.

“The parking thing is huge,” said Bayley-Clough. “That’s one of the biggest issues I deal with in Pine Point in general. With food trucks, it seems unfair to a lot of us that they could just pull into some place and be allowed to create any kind of traffic problem without having to pay.”

Town Planner Jay Chase brought up an example that was more akin to the catering business, where a food truck could be approved by the town to serve one company’s employees for a couple of hours, once or twice a week.

Bayley-Clough said that she wouldn’t have an issue with that sort of business practice as long as the food truck owner went through the town for approval first.

Martin said the goal of the discussion was to give an update to the committee, and she hopes to bring other restaurant owners together for opinions and ideas.

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