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Medford Officials Ponder Food Cart/Truck Licensing

Subcommittee on licensing weighs whether to start permitting food carts and/or food trucks.

Medford city councilors are weighing whether the city should start licensing mobil food vendors in the city.

For the second time this year, the council's subcommittee on licensing took up discussion on mobil food carts and trucks Tuesday night. City Solicitor Mark Rumley provided the subcommittee, which consists of Paul Camuso, Fred Dello Russo and Richard Caraviello, with copies of other communities' ordinances on food trucks and food carts.

But the councilors took no action on the subject, choosing to take some time to review the information Rumley gave them and return to the topic in coming weeks.

The city currently has no ordinances regarding mobil food vendors, but frequently receives requests for permits, City Clerk Ed Finn said. Finn estimated he has received about 100 requests for such a license in the last three years.

Several communities have used pilot programs, allowing for licensing of mobil food vendors temporarily then reviewing it. Dello Russo said he thought a pilot program makes sense, but wanted time to review the information Rumley gave the subcommittee before taking a stance on the licenses.

"That way we can feel it, taste it, see what it’s like, knowing it isn’t engraved in granite," Dello Russo said.

Dello Russo said he would not support anything that could negatively impact existing businesses.

"I don’t want Joe's pizza truck coming into Medford and parking in front of a restaurant or store that’s known for its pizza," he said.

With the Medford Farmers Market's season right around the corner, Camuso said he would like something passed fairly quickly that would allow for food trucks specifically at the market, then take more time to review whether issuing licenses for other parts of the city would make sense.

"No question about it, this is going to take some time," Camuso said Tuesday.

Brookline is starting a pilot program for food trucks this year that includes ordinances specific for its farmers market.

The subcommittee will revisit the subject sometime shortly after Easter, and plans to ask the Police and Fire Chiefs and a health department representative to be on hand.

Lisa March 31, 2012 at 02:22 PM
With Medford beginning a healthy community initiative, including obesity and the availability of healthy food choices, a big concern would be the quality and the nutritional content of the food that would be sold on the food carts.

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