No, the headline isn’t a typo. City officials in New Haven may have come up with a great way to eliminate the competition between food trucks and restaurants. It’s simple, increase the fee to operate a food truck from $200 to $5,100 annually.

NEW HAVEN, CT – City officials have begun shopping around a proposal to set new rules for New Haven’s booming food-truck industry — including jacking up annual permit fees from $200 to $5,100.

Economic development officials previewed the plan at a closed-door meeting this week at the Study with owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, some of whom have criticized food trucks as unfair competitors who have lower fixed costs. Supporters of the operators call them a boon both to the economy and to New Haven’s quality of life.

The plan is just a draft at this point. Officials intend to run it by food truck operators and politicians before going public with the details. Participants at the Study meeting were sworn to secrecy; they weren’t allowed even to take pictures or physical copies of the proposed plan.

“There are many constituencies we have to run it by, the most important of which are the Board of Alders and the mayor. Until we have briefed all the groups,” it would be premature to discuss details, said city Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson. “Peoples’ daily lives depend on us getting this right. I want to make sure that change is something people can put their fingerprints on.”

The plan’s highlights include, according to three people familiar with the details:

• Increasing the annual fee for an annual permit to park on the street and sell at a metered space from $200 to $5,100. The city’s rationale: That’s how much it would cost to park full time at the space and feed the meter full-time for a full year.

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