FREEPORT, MA – The Town Council approved a zoning amendment that gives food trucks what one official called a “very narrow opening” to operate in some parts of town.
The amendment, which was recommended by the Planning Board, adds the definition of “artisan food and beverage” providers to the town’s zoning ordinance to describe small-scale food-and-drink establishments that may run food trucks as accessory uses in specific zoning districts.
The trucks, however, will continue to be banned in the busy downtown Village Commercial Districts 1-4.
Food trucks will be allowed in Commercial Districts 1, 3, and 4, the Local Business District, Industrial Districts 1 and 2, and Medium Density Districts A and B. A zoning map can be found on the Freeport town website.
Councilors on Dec. 2 approved the zoning amendment 4-2, with Councilors Andy Wellen and Kristina Egan opposed. It will go into effect after the Dec. 17 council meeting, where a fee structure will be established.
Wellen said he wants the fees to be high, so that brick-and-mortar restaurants that pay property taxes aren’t disadvantaged.
“I think we would need to have a level playing field with food trucks,” Egan agreed.
The zoning amendment also includes many standards for the accessory food trucks.
They must be on the same property as the parent business, and only one food truck will be allowed on a property at any time. Up to three food trucks may be allowed if the town gives permission, but the trucks can’t be at that location for more than three days and this exception can only be allowed three times a year.
Food trucks must be on private property, unless the town makes an exception for a special event. Food trucks can only be open when the host business is open, but will be limited to 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Truck operators will not be allowed to verbally solicit pedestrians and sales can’t be made to people in vehicles. Also, food trucks can’t have exterior lighting, unless it is to illuminate a menu. Signs, except for any that identify the name of the business, aren’t allowed on food trucks and no amplified noises will be allowed to come from the trucks.
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