City Council Requests Draft Regulations for Electric Vehicle Storage

By Adam Swift

A public hearing on a proposed change in the city’s food truck ordinance drew a mix of concerns at city hall on Monday night.

Ward 4 City Councillor Paul Argenzio introduced the ordinance change, which would prohibit the operation of food trucks on Broadway in the area of city hall and the American Legion. Argenzio said he had heard complaints about noise from area residents, as well as concerns from local brick and mortar restaurants.

The proposed ordinance change would not affect the operation of food trucks in other areas where they are allowed to operate, including Shirley Avenue.

Those who spoke in favor of the ordinance change which would remove the food trucks from Broadway raised many of those quality of life and business concerns.

Reservoir Avenue resident Stephanie Desisto played a 15-second clip of noise from a food truck generator on Broadway.

“Put yourself in my shoes where I am subjected to that for up to nine hours a day, six days a week, with the exception of the occasional times when the big food truck parks a little further down in front of the Legion,” said Desisto.

Desisto said she and other residents are having their quality of life diminished by being subjected to the noise and inconvenience from the food trucks. She said she is also concerned about the impact the trucks have on parking, traffic, and safety in the area.

“The city hall area is already overburdened with parking issues,” said Desisto.

Local business owner Juan David Jaramillo said the food trucks have had a negative impact on his and other local restaurants, forcing several of them to close down their lunch service.

While initially supportive of the food trucks, Jaramillo said he did not think the spirit of the ordinance was to allow the same food trucks to occupy parking spots permanently. He also raised concerns about parking, traffic, and safety on Broadway.

Several residents from 250 Broadway, directly across from city hall and the American Legion, said they constantly hear noise from the trucks’ generators.

“When they first came here, it was for special events, I never knew they were supposed to be there every day of the week,” said Cheever Street resident Michael Roper.

Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said that in addition to the noise, residents also have to deal with pollution from the trucks. She also raised concerns about the licenses issued to the food trucks and where they are supposed to operate in the first place.

“I think this should be revisited; I know it is going to subcommittee,” said McKenna.

Argenzio said the intention of his original motion was to remove the food truck spots from in front of city hall and the Legion, and that he was still in favor of that.

“Given the high concentration of brick and mortar restaurants on Broadway, the food trucks, I don’t think, add anything to what is already here,” said Argenzio. “I think we need to give them the ability to do business; I know a lot of them are struggling on Broadway. I’m in favor of food trucks in the proper place; they could be moved, we could talk about alternative locations.”

Argenzio noted that the noise was brought up by a lot of the residents, as well as the traffic concerns.

“I don’t think that those locations were in the spirit of the food truck ordinance,” said Argenzio. “I would urge everyone, once it goes to subcommittee, that we give the relief to the business owners and the residents and remove them from those two locations.”

Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said it was a hard situation, and agreed with several other councillors who recommended that the city look at alternative locations and mandate that the food trucks rotate locations on a daily basis rather than staying constantly in one place.

“I think that residents may have to put up with a day on Broadway,” said Silvestri. “I think that telling small business owners that invested their life savings into a truck that they are no longer able to use it in the city would be very tough on any one of us and I’m not aiming it against anyone, but it’s a tough situation to be in.”

The proposed ordinance change was moved to a legislative affairs subcommittee meeting scheduled for April 29.

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