New ordinances for New Haven food trucks go into effect on July 1

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New ordinances for food trucks in New Haven take effect on Saturday.

Carlos Rodriguez has owned the Tacos La Patrona food truck on Long Wharf for more than six years. He knows the ordinances will impact business. He has his permit to stay, and his truck will remain open.

“I’m ready, 100 percent,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be more competition. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but the reality is it’s happening.”

However, the ordinances are leaving a bad taste in the mouths of some vendors. William Shields owns the Flagman on Long Wharf truck, a different type of truck based business. He is opposed to the ordinances.

“For my present business I couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it,” Shields said.

He has been in business for 25 years, but because of the higher fees, he will be starting a Mexican food truck instead.

“Same spot, different menu,” said Shields.

That’s because owning a food truck will get more expensive. Truck owners will have to pay a $2,500 per year fee; push cart owners must pay a $1,000 annual fee. The new rules mean food trucks will have to be set up in four designated areas in the city: Long Wharf, Sachem and Cedar Streets and downtown. Most established vendors were grandfathered in. The city held a lottery for new vendors.

“In three of the four districts – Sachem, Cedar and on Long Wharf – we had wait lists because we had more people applying for spots that were lotteried than we had spots to give them,” said Steve Fontana, New Haven’s deputy economic development director.

Vendors will now be required to have proof of their health inspection and of insurance. Those on Long Wharf will soon see other changes as well. Generators will be replaced; instead, trucks will be plugged in. The city is hoping that will happen by the end of July.

“It’s a lot better,” said Fernando Mateo, owner of La Unica, a food truck on Long Wharf. “The generators are kind of loud, noisy. I think it’s not good for the kids.”

The city is working on adding new areas for food trucks over the next few years.

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