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Pols pave the road for gourmet food trucks

Promoting the emerging gourmet food-truck industry, the City Council released details of a proposal on Wednesday to streamline the permitting process for 25 mobile restaurants.

Promoting the emerging gourmet food-truck industry, the City Council released details of a proposal on Wednesday to streamline the permitting process for 25 mobile restaurants.

But several key regulations still need to be banged out.

For starters, it’s unclear if existing food trucks will be grandfathered into the new program.

“If you’re already up and running, you should automatically be given a license,” said Gregg Gale, who owns The Boston Speed Dog in Roxbury’s Newmarket Square, a 35-year-old institution.

“We need some regulation, but we need to make a living out here.”

Under the proposal, trucks would pay fees based on the desirability of their route. They would also be forced to buy GPS transponders so customers and city inspectors can track their movement.

“The only time I move my truck is when I go to a special event,” Gale said.

City Council President Mike Ross, who hopes to hold a food truck hearing next month, said existing trucks would ideally get one of the new permits or be allowed to operate in their existing form.

“I’m not sure how, in the end, the city will come down on this,” Ross said. “In the end, some sort of regulatory calls will have to be made by the commissioner of transportation.”

Learning from LA’s mistakes

Last month, Ross and Councilor Sal LaMattina traveled to Los Angeles, where litigation reversed food-truck regulations that were implemented after the industry got out of hand.

“The one danger is doing nothing, and that’s what Los Angeles discovered,” Ross said of his proposed regulations. “Now [L.A. is] trying to put genie back in bottle, after the fact.”


 
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