EAST HARTFORD — Local leaders have loosened rules to welcome more food trucks into the city as mobile dining grows in popularity.

The changes, which went into effect on Tuesday, include a simplified application process and expanded access that allows food trucks to be used on certain streets, businesses, city parks and other public property.

“We recognize our residents’ interest in expanding the city’s food truck offerings, and I thank the council for approving ordinance changes that support our vision of making East Hartford a destination city and also support our small business operators,” Mayor Michael P Walsh. said.

Food truck operators must comply with all requirements of the code and obtain a food service license from the local health department. Licensed operators can conduct business on designated streets every day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The new rules also allow event organizers and businesses to contract food trucks in the city and on private property.

According to published reports, the food truck business has boomed across the country since the industry’s inception in 2008 and especially since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As restaurants have been forced to close, food trucks have been given more room to continue operating.

From 2013 to 2018, the number of food service businesses in the country increased from 3,281 to 5,970, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. million dollars.

Food Truck Nation, a project of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said that food trucks “thrived in part due to low barriers to entry and strong consumer demand.

“However, these barriers vary greatly from city to city,” organization reported. “In many communities, regulatory burdens and inconsistent rules governing how, when and where food trucks can operate threaten to stunt the growth of this new industry.”

Walsh said Wednesday that East Hartford was “largely out of the food truck business as the old ordinance was very restrictive.”

“Our goal was to have food trucks commercialized and it felt like they needed to be allowed to operate in the city,” he said, adding that the city has not received complaints from conventional restaurant owners.

“So the new rules welcome food trucks into the community,” Walsh said, “and if social media is any measure, this change is a welcome relief as the community wants to see them here.”

Examples of planned events that may host food trucks include employee or customer thank you days, organization-related holiday or anniversary celebrations, and promotions for a grand opening or sale.

The rules do not allow any tables, chairs, fire pits or portable heaters to be placed; using loudspeakers or other means to transmit voice or play music; use of temporary signs, with the exception of one small (less than 6 square feet) sign, which must be located within 5 feet of the food truck and not block parking spaces, sidewalks, or vehicle traffic; flashing or flashing lights; and customer service from the side of a truck facing a road or right of way with vehicular traffic.

Food trucks are not allowed on non-business commercial property and food trucks cannot occupy parking spaces required for business operations, forcing customers to park at other facilities or city roads.

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