Food Trucks May Be Rolling Toward Boston

By Jess Bidgood

Dec. 8, 2010

Food trucks line up in the Washington, DC neighborhood of Columbia Heights. (Mr. T in DC/ Flickr)

BOSTON — Food trucks may be coming ever-closer to Boston.

An ordinance proposed at Wednesday's City Council meeting by City Council President Mike Ross and Councilor Salvatore LaMattina would license up to 25 be-wheeled gourmet vendors to roll around the city.

Earlier this year, Ross and LaMattina traveled to Los Angeles to research the growth and regulation of the city's food truck industry, which has virtually exploded over the past several years.

"LA represents the good, the bad and the ugly with food trucks," Ross said, adding that he made that trip using his money rather than the city's. "The city didn't regulate the industry and then it kind of grew unruly."

LA has seen lawsuits and even fistfights as its food truck industry has grown. That's precisely what Ross thinks his proposal will help avoid.

"I determined a reasonable first-year start would be 25 food trucks," Ross said, "that will allow us to grow the industry in a manageable way."

Under the ordinance, certain zones would be off-limits to trucks based on traffic considerations or the proximity of similar businesses. Ross also wants to keep the trucks as environmentally friendly as possible. "Sustainability practices are very important, especially given that these trucks are trucks," Ross said. "We did allow preference to be given for environmentally progressive initiatives, as well as those businesses that would support charitable processes."

Trucks would be required to be linked to a brick-and-mortar food commissary — and all trucks would have to have some kind of restroom plan for employees.

Ross is also hoping the trucks will partner up with developers, so smart phones can tell hungry customers which trucks could be rolling their way.

The ordinance must be reviewed at a public hearing and will be subject to a City Council vote. "I hope we'll be biting into grilled cheese sandwiches by next summer," Ross said.
Boston City Council Food Trucks Report


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