Food Truck Location Offends Some John Street Residents

One resident crafting a warrant article to ban mobile food trucks from public ways in Brookline.

When the Selectmen approved the food truck locations in early February, there were two late additions to the program--it is to one street in particular that several residents took offense: Pleasant Street.

The Board of Selectmen approved the , and a . Nine food truck vendors have applied to the program. On April 10, the Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the individual licenses for food trucks. They will determine whether the program has been a success after the six-month pilot ends. 

The method of this pilot program was criticized by Stanley Spiegel, Town Meeting Member for precinct 2, who said there was no criteria to judge whether or not it was successful. 

"As it stands now, I don’t see any objective way for you to judge whether it’s successful," he said, calling it "a pilot program basically without an exit strategy."

Spigel also hinted that he was crafting a warrant article for the which would prohibit food trucks from operating on the town's public ways. He believes parking could become an issue in Coolidge Corner and pointed out that the parking spaces on John Street are sometimes used by people walking to or , as well as the many restaurants in the neighborhood. 

"I think it’s inappropriate that none of the Town Meeting Members abutting the areas were informed or consulted," Spiegel said. "If this board won’t reach out to its Town Meeting Memebers, it’s up to Town Meeting to take a stand."

Resident Martin Yaseen "strenuously objected" to the presence of food trucks at the John Street and Pleasant Street intersection, "filling the air with repugnant food and grease odors."

A resident of the neighborhood for 27 years, Yaseen expressed concern for the young mothers and infants who use both sidewalks, worried about them having to navigate large groups of food truck customers. He referenced neighbors taking offense to the location, and explained that his goal is "to preserve what little tranquility we have."

He added that the Friday night and weekend hours of that location displayed "shocking ignorance of the citizens you [the Board] represent," adding that they are largely during Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. 

"The decision with respect to time was because wasn’t open at those times." Selectman Dick Benka explained that, "we recommended those times so as not to compete."

Town Meeting Member Robert Basile commented that he couldn't imagine the Chamber of Commerce supporting the program. He added that he spoke to several restaurant owners in the neighborhood, one of which said he hoped the pilot program fails. 

Benka noted that, during the outreach for the pilot program, Economic Development Officer Kara Brewton did reach out to the Chamber of Commerce, and Coolidge Corner Merchants Association, neither of which objected., located on John Street, also expressed no objection to the food truck location.

Selectman Chair Betsy DeWitt added that a public hearing for the individual food truck licenses is scheduled for April 10. She invited the residents to return then to speak more for or against the food truck program. 

Neil Gordon March 07, 2012 at 06:20 PM
To suggest that a Friday night and Saturday food truck doesn't compete with Jerusalem Pita because they're closed then is economically naive. There are only so many food dollars to go around. For me, one scenario is Boca Grande on Saturday and Jerusalem Pita on Sunday. Add a food truck to the mix and I might choose the food truck on Saturday and Boca Grande on Sunday. Jerusalem Pita loses. I'd be shocked if they didn't notice a decline.
Charlie Denison March 07, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I thought competition was good for business! Why should we limit what food options are available? There is no reason why one business should have a monopoly over a certain area. If anything, the presence of food trucks will give people more options and will encourage our existing brick and mortar restaurants to improve their own products.
william martin March 09, 2012 at 02:47 PM
This violates the constitutional right to separation of food and religion!
Pam Roberts March 09, 2012 at 02:59 PM
hahahaha. Actually, I agree with you, in so far as we should not be setting precedents regarding food establishments aligning with ANY religious observances of ANY faith. Otherwise, how could a Brookline restaurant be open during the days of Ramadan, or serving meat on Fridays in Lent? I DO agree with the concerns about the location of the food truck(s) at the corner of John St. and Pleasant St. That spot can get clogged up as it is, especially during rush hour. Coolidge Corner really doesn't need MORE traffic.
Kevin April 27, 2013 at 12:35 AM
This entire dialog is riveted with discrimination! Caterers do hundreds of millions in business out of BOX TRUCKS. Roach Coaches go any where they want unregulated and subject to no specific mandates by any community. Tens of thousand restaurants deliver using ratty employee vehicles without any inspections of any kind. A food trucker is subject to ridiculous overbearing regulation at every turn. Many have already gone out of business. They aren't rolling gold mines!!!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something