First Five Food Trucks Licensed, Coming to Town [POLL]
April 17 is the earliest date Brookline residents can expect to see the first five food trucks approved to the town's pilot program.
As soon as next week, Paris Creperie will no longer be the only place to get their crepes and smoothies in town. Their food truck joins four other trucks approved at last night's Board of Selectmen meeting.
The five trucks approved to operate in Brookline mark the first participants in the six-month pilot program, which Economic Development Officer Kara Brewton says could begin as early as April 17 and will end on October 15.
Approved food trucks and their schedules:
Baja Taco Truck – Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the median parking spaces across from 1842 Beacon Street
Compliments Food Truck – Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the median parking spaces across from 1842 Beacon Street
Tuesday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Pleasant Street near 940 Commonwealth Avenue
Paris Creperie – Saturday 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., near 1622 Beacon Street.
Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street
Pennypacker's Food Truck – Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street
Renula's Greek Kitchen – Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street
Mouse over the pins on the map at right for locations and schedules.
A Delicious Debate
Despite opposition from a number of residents, Board voted four to one for each of the trucks, with Selectman Dick Benka casting the dissenting vote. Those supporting the licenses spoke to the experimental nature of the program, emphasizing that it is a pilot, and that the Board can not know whether the program could be a success in Brookline without attempting it.
"At the end of the day, I believe this is a low-risk pilot. We aren’t constructing anything, we aren’t tearing anything down," said Selectman Jesse Mermell.
She added that food trucks are on wheels, and if they do not work for Brookline, they can simple drive away in six months' time.
Selectman Benka explained that he had initially expected to vote in favor, but points raised by several residents and business-owners who had come to speak about the food trucks had swayed his vote.
"The balance people are trying to strike is between bringing vitality to areas with food trucks, and on other hand, impact on residences and brick-and-mortar restaurants," said Benka. "When I started this hearing today, was inclined to vote in favor of the pilot. Now, I am struggling to find the benefit."
Opponents of the program questioned the benefits, and pointed to possible negatives, such as lost business for brick-and-mortar restaurants near food truck locations, a decrease in the town's meal tax, and litter.
One speaker, resident Martin Yaseen--who wrote a letter to the editor in mid-March--had with him a signed petition from every precinct 2 household on John Street, a street which had been considered for an adjacent food truck parking space. The space has since been withdrawn from the pilot program.
Fellow John Street resident Muriel Haber said that she was horrified by the idea of food trucks rolling into Brookline, saying they are contrary to her idea of Brookline as it was in the '60s and '70s, classy and upscale. Food trucks, she said, would be "bringing it down.
"Brookline should be classier than that," Haber added.
The Brookline Chamber of Commerce has been watching the food truck issue since the beginning, according to executive director Harry Robinson. He said that he has heard a lot of comments for and against, and many neutral comments about the pilot program, but that the strongest voices have been against.
Owner of the Paris Creperie, Chuck Silverston said, "We think that the more food trucks there are, and the more restaurants, the more people will come to Brookline."
Silverston commented that many of the new businesses in Brookline were chains. He added that when Panera opened a location across the street from his creperie, they saw an increase in business.
Speaking in support of food trucks, Green Street resident Nicole Fonsh, read from her letter to the editor about food trucks building community.
Said Fonsh, "As someone who hopes to stay in the Brookline area, I hope that we give these food truck owners a chance to become a part of our community and to bring a little something different to our town."