LOWELL, MA – City councilors are waiting to hear from proponents and opponents of a proposed downtown food-truck ban Tuesday night before leaning in one direction or another.
City Manager Kevin Murphy has proposed keeping mobile food vendors, including trucks and carts, out of downtown as a way to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants and to not worsen a parking crunch in the neighborhood.
The proposal has launched a debate over how best to promote economic development, as food trucks have gained popularity in many other cities, with people looking to get a quick bite to eat.
Murphy said Saturday the city has, in fact, already had a ban in place on food trucks, including downtown as well as outside the Tsongas Center, Lowell Memorial Auditorium and LeLacheur Park. He said he wants to remove the restrictions for outside those facilities.
“We think that’s something that can be very attractive for people,” Murphy said of patrons stopping at food trucks after an event. “We have a food-truck ordinance now, but we find that it’s too restrictive.”
Murphy said he didn’t have specifics for when the current ban went into place.
Many city councilors weren’t aware of the current restrictions, and said they weren’t sure how they would vote Tuesday. A hearing is set for 7 p.m., in City Hall’s Council Chamber.
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