HAVERHILL. MA – Mayor James Fiorentini is supporting a proposal to allow specialty food trucks to rotate among busy areas of the city, including downtown where there are already many restaurants, pizza parlors and sandwich shops.
Opponents to the measure began lining up at last week’s City Council meeting. Existing city rules allow “transient vendors” to sell food from carts at seven fixed locations including Swasey Field, Bradford Common, GAR Park, Washington Square and near Trinity Stadium.
The proposal to allow larger food trucks and let them move freely around the city to make sales came up during a debate over a license request from Thomas and Tiffany Bell. They asked for a license from the council to operate their specialty food truck at Bradford Common. The vehicle includes a small kitchen with a refrigerator and generator.
The Bells, who live in Haverhill with their seven children and two nephews, sell specialty sandwiches, chili and salads, as well as other restaurant-type food from a truck called The Food Train.
The Bells hold a license from the city to operate at Swasey Field and also regularly park near the courthouse on Ginty Boulevard and in Ward Hill under their state license.
The spot the Bells want to use at Bradford Common has been vacant for many months, city officials said. Bell told councilors last week that he would also like to rotate among the seven fixed locations across the city.
The mayor supported Bell’s request to operate his truck at Bradford Common at last week’s meeting, but councilors decided to send the request to their Administration and Finance Committee for review.
Fiorentini said he planned to work with that committee to further amend city rules to allow food trucks to rotate among fixed locations.
“Specialty food trucks are a national controversy because they compete with restaurants,” Fiorentini said. “But I’m all for them because I think they would add to our city and our downtown. I love our downtown restaurants and I have been their biggest fan, but our job isn’t just to represent restaurants, it’s to represent the people who go downtown and are potential customers of both restaurants and food trucks.”
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