Jul 28, 2014

Food Truck Pilot Program Gets Rolling in April

Selectmen approve a 6-month pilot program to welcome food vendor trucks into Brookline, with location details still to be finalized.

Food Truck Pilot Program Gets Rolling in April

In April, a few Brookline neighborhoods may see crowds gathering outside food trucks, thanks to a unanimous vote to at last night's Board of Selectmen meeting. That is, a vote on the program's regulations, as the locations are still being finalized. 

"I'm excited that we’re able to move forward on this and have a true six-month pilot," said Selectman Jesse Mermell, "it will give an appropriate snapshot of the program."

Mermell added that she hopes Brookline will become "a food truck destination." 

With the regulations approved, Public Health Director Dr. Alan Balsam reports that he applications will go out this week, and that the Health Department expects to have applicants selected and rolling in by April.

Since the last meeting, Balsam reports that a few minor changes were made to the program. They adjusted the fee structure, and--per Selectman Nancy Daly's suggestion-- improved the criteria related to the nutritional value of served foods.

Balsam also reported that Economic Development Officer Kara Brewton has been "setting the table" for more locations around town, such as spaces on private land.

The list of spaces has not yet been made final. Currently included: on-street at Auburn and Harvard Streets (opposite ), space on St. Mary's Street near  Boston University, and three spots near the , as well as ,  and two at . 

"I'm concerned with having folks apply without knowing what locations are available," observed Selectman Betsy DeWitt, pointing out that the locations have not yet been finalized. Meaning that some food truck operators may be applying for locations, only to find out those locations are not available.

She initially asked for a vote to approve the final list of locations, but Dr. Balsam felt that approving the locations could delay the application process. He also noted that starting this program will call for a certain amount of interplay between those organizing the pilot and the vendors. 

He explained, "It’s a bit of an art, here--a moving target. I’d like to say we’ll have it all nailed down beforehand, but I don’t think we will have it all nailed down."

Selectman Mermell added that the vendors should be aware that they are applying to a pilot program, and that these types of programs tend to be fluid. She noted that, "in an ideal world," these locations would already be clearly defined. 

"What I heard loud and clear from them [food truck representatives at the ] was that there is going to need to be some flexibility." Added Selectman Ken Goldstein, "that’s why these things are on wheels--they move from place to place."

At that previous, President of the  Boston Area Food Truck Association Ron Sarni also dropped a few names he said are considering food trucks:  and  of Wellesley. 

Despite concerns over the locations, the regulations for the program were unanimously approved. The Health Department is sending out applications for the program today. 

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