New Haven Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Regulations, Fees For Food Trucks

Mobile food vendors in New Haven will weigh in on the city’s proposals to revise the rules and guidelines for their industry at a public hearing Thursday night at City Hall.

Jimmy Khalid owns six Ali Baba’s Fusion food carts in New Haven.

“I’m in this business,” he said, “when we were just a few carts used to be around in the whole city.”

With the food truck business now booming in the Elm City, Deputy Economic Development Director Steve Fontana has spent several years compiling new rules to regulate the industry, including license fees for vendors to reserve their own spots.

“What they hate doing is driving around in circles looking for a place to park,” Fontana said, “or not knowing someone is going to take the spot they thought was theirs the next day.”

The proposed yearly feed fee for push carts or stands is $1,000. It is $2,500 for food trucks or trailers. Vendors on Long Wharf will be charged $500 for electricity.

“Give people a chance and actually ask them to pay something in addition,” Fontana said, “so that we can plow that back into increase enforcement, additional clean-ups, police coverage.”

“I don’t have any problem with that,” Khalid said of the city’s proposed fees.

But Khalid worries about this proposal for vendors to set up in the Yale University ice rink parking lot to move back onto the Sachem Street sidewalks.

“It’s like a food court,” he said, “and it’s very safe for anybody, any customer.”

Khalid said hundreds of customers have signed a petition against the proposed change.

“Will you show these signatures at the meeting tonight?” NBC Connecticut asked.

“I will bring it with me, yeah,” Khalid said.

The move back onto the sidewalk is part of the city proposal to create four special vending districts: downtown, Cedar Street by Yale-New Haven Hospital, Long Wharf and Sachem Street.

After hearing some of these concerns at the meeting, 

Steve Fontana, Deputy Director of Economic Development, had the following comment:

"Based on the concerns expressed at last night’s hearing, we agreed to re-examine vending at and around Sachem Street with various stakeholders and to revise our proposal as necessary. Given the generally positive overall feedback that we received last night, we otherwise likely will make only minor changes in other areas of the proposed ordinance revisions."

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