Town Council revising food truck ordinance

Per Rhode Island legislation
Thu, 10/24/2019 - 5:45pm

A change to the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation’s food truck statutes is requiring the Town of New Shoreham to revise its General Ordinances for local food truck operations. As a result, the town is going through the process of amending and revising its ordinances for hawkers and peddlers and mobile food establishments to come into compliance with state law.

What this means is that food trucks will now be classified as mobile food establishments, and no longer considered hawkers and peddlers. Per the change in state law, local food trucks will need to transition from their hawkers and peddlers classification, as they fall under the state’s definition of a mobile food establishment, which is a food service operation that operates from a moveable motor-driven or propelled vehicle, portable structure, or watercraft that can change location. Mobile food establishments specifically include, but are not limited to food trucks, food carts, ice cream trucks/carts, and lemonade trucks/carts.

Del’s lemonade carts and the boat Aldo’s Bakery operates on the Great Salt Pond, for instance, would be classified as mobile food establishments.

The three locally licensed food truck owners, which would need to transition over to mobile food establishments, are: Carole Payne (Payne’s Donuts at Fort Island on Ocean Avenue), Cindy Kelly (Pots and Kettles at Mosquito Beach and Old Town Road), and André Boudreau (Southeast Light Delights at the Southeast Lighthouse).

The Town Council discussed changes to the ordinance with Town Solicitor Katherine Merolla at its meeting Monday night. Merolla has been drafting the language for the amended ordinances. Second Warden André Boudreau was recused from the meeting. The Town Council will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. regarding its proposed revisions to the town’s general ordinances.

Merolla said the law requires the town to separate food truck owners from hawkers and peddlers licenses, because those operations have been separated under state law. Local food trucks will be classified under the ordinance as mobile food establishments, and require applicants to maintain an annual mobile food service license from the R.I. Department of Health.

Food truck operation now requires an annual registration with the state, and a permit from the town; inspection annually by the state’s Fire Marshal; a Fire Safety inspection report; and locations would now be regulated by the town’s zoning ordinance. 

The Town Council is deliberating nuances of the language for the ordinances with Merolla, including when permits would need to be renewed, the procedure for a waiting list and the town’s role in setting limits or restrictions on permits and locations. The public can weigh in on the amendments at a public hearing during the Town Council’s Nov. 20 meeting.

The proposed amendments can be found attached to the council’s agenda for Oct. 21 on the Town of New Shoreham’s website.

Thomas Property home

During the Warden’s Report, First Warden Ken Lacoste said the modular single-family home designated for a senior town employee on the Thomas Property has been delivered and installed on the property. The home was supposed to be the residence of Town Manager Ed Roberge, who resigned from office on Tuesday, the day of the meeting.

“Various house sections up at the Thomas Property were put in place this afternoon,” said Lacoste. “So progress is being made.”

The $559,285 home, constructed by Connecticut Valley Homes, is part of the $1.5 million Thomas Property project, which also involves construction of a four-unit rental dwelling for town employees in the existing duplex that was voter-approved at the Financial Town Meeting in May of 2018.

Sections of the home were sitting idle on the Thomas Property while town officials consulted with Town Solicitor William Landry regarding legal action pending against the town. On Oct. 16, Washington County Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft Carter ruled against a temporary restraining order petitioned in a lawsuit filed by five New Shoreham Police Officers that would have halted the construction process.

The Town Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.