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Food truck rules simmer in Falmouth

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Food truck rules simmer in Falmouth

FALMOUTH — Two food trucks, Love Cupcakes and Della's Dogs, did business in town this summer, but the future of these and other mobile restaurants could depend on an ordinance yet to be drafted.

Bill Lunt, chairman of the Falmouth Economic Improvement Committee, said the Town Council asked the committee to look into drafting an ordinance to govern food trucks, but that he doesn't expect anything to happen before next spring.

“We have the winter to deal with this,” he said. “I don't think we're going to see hot dog carts in a snow storm.”

A decision in Falmouth would come on the heels of an ordinance in Portland, passed in September, allowing limited food truck operation in the city.

Love Cupcakes, a mobile cupcake business that operated out of the Foreside Antiques parking lot on Route 1 a few days a week over the summer, came to Falmouth because, until September, food trucks were not allowed in Portland.

When Portland's ordinance was passed, the cupcake trailer moved to 299 Commercial St. Right now, Love Cupcakes is the only food truck permitted in Portland, because many potential operators believe the city's ordinance is too restrictive.

Portland's ordinance confines trucks to city parks, some downtown streets and industrial off-peninsula locations between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. It also bans trucks within 65 feet of a working kitchen on the peninsula and within 200 feet of commercial kitchens. Trucks are allowed on private property in non-residential areas during daytime hours.

Falmouth has never considered an ordinance allowing food trucks in town. Permits for Loves Cupcakes and Della's Dogs – a hot-dog cart available for catered events – were considered by the council on a case-by-case basis.

At its Oct. 17 meeting, the committee heard from Peter Leavitt, owner of Leavitt & Sons deli, and Della Parker, owner of Della's Dogs, so they could get a better understanding about concerns surrounding a potential ordinance.

Leavitt said he does not oppose an ordinance allowing food trucks, which have never been considered by the town before, but he thinks where and how they can operate should be governed.

“(The council) needs to keep brick-and-mortar establishments in mind, look at visually what it is going to do to impact the town and put in some kind of parameters for where and how they are can operate,” he said.

Lunt said that the committee has to look at both sides of the issue before a recommendation can be made to the council.

“There's always a question when you have competing businesses, and the main question that our committee will be looking at is how can you have both businesses together in an area and be fair to both sides?” he said. “How can we do that? Nobody knows for sure, this is the first time that it has come up.”

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.