Brookline Selectmen Tuesday approved a six-month extension to a pilot food truck program despite some ongoing objections from local restaurants.
The board voted unanimously to extend the food truck program until April 30th of next year for Baja Taco, Compliments Food Truck, Paris Creperie, Pennypacker’s Food Truck and Renula’s Greek Kitchen.
Selectmen approved a pilot program in the spring allowing food trucks at specific locations in the town, and the vendors have all reported strong sales, according to the town.
“In our view the program has worked well,” said Alan Balsam, the town’s director of public health and human services.
Kara Brewton, the town’s economic development director, said most of the comments the town has received in response to the food trucks have been in favor of the program, including some who wish to see the number of food trucks increased.
But Brewton said the town continues to hear from two or three local restaurants that argue the food truck program is unfair, in part because the food trucks don’t have to pay property taxes in the town.
At their board meeting Tuesday night, Selectmen again heard arguments for and against the food trucks.
Eddie Chen, the owner of Nud Pub Restaurant on Commonwealth Avenue said food trucks operating at St. Mary’s Street have caused a significant drop in his business and he thinks allowing the vendors at that location is a bad idea.
But Chuck Silverston, the owner of Paris Creperie, which operates food truck in Brookline and a restaurant in Coolidge Corner, said he’s seen business improve at his restaurant since he rolled out his food truck. He said the addition of the Paris Creperie food truck has also created 22 jobs.
While selectmen voted to extend the food truck program, they also voted to stop waiving a $225 food vendor fee that was not charged during the first six months of the pilot program. The board also approved increasing fees for the food trucks to park in the town during meal hours from the current range of $5 to $7 to a fee of $10 in the next six months of the program.