Madison, CT: Selectmen Eye Food Trucks in Madison, Attraction or Detraction?

Rich Messier of Madison has opened his High Tide Gourmet food truck in downtown Madison, serving among other items a scrumptious lobster roll. Louise and Todd Gould of Madison left and MaryLou Keenan of Clinton at the window line up for dinner. Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register

By Ebony Walmsley  |  Shoreline Times

Rich Messier of Madison has opened his High Tide Gourmet food truck in downtown Madison, serving among other items a scrumptious lobster roll. Louise and Todd Gould of Madison left and MaryLou Keenan of Clinton at the window line up for dinner. Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Rich Messier of Madison has opened his High Tide Gourmet food truck in downtown Madison, serving among other items a scrumptious lobster roll. Louise and Todd Gould of Madison left and MaryLou Keenan of Clinton at the window line up for dinner. Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register

MADISON – In town for over a year, the growing number of food trucks outside the Academy School were discussed at last Monday’s (July 22) Board of Selectman meeting.

Last week, the Board of Selectmen discussed whether the food trucks posed an issue on the south side of Boston Post Road. The general consensus of the board was the trucks are a “new and evolving feature to the town.”

The board agreed there should be some rules put into action, but not impose on the opportunity for the sale of food.

Last Monday, Town Planner David Anderson said there had been discussion how the vendors came to the Academy School.

Anderson said there was no real trigger that sparked the recent discussion.

“There has been some public discourse about it over time,” Anderson said.

Anderson added there was some vagueness to the current ordinance; there are no rules stating how many vendors can be in one place at a time or for how long.

“We may just want to place a cap on how many trucks can park there,” Anderson said.

The current ordinance states the Board of Selectmen can adopt additional rules that are in accordance with the present ordinance, Anderson said.

Anderson, who has been monitoring the trucks’ location said he’s heard concerns that truck owners don’t pay property taxes or may take up “valuable parking spaces.”

Truck owners are required to pay for a vendor permit.

“I’ve heard more pros than cons,” Anderson said.

Food trucks who frequent the open parking lot are a cannoli truck, cupcake truck, Taco Pacifico, Food Extravert and High Tide Gourmet.

High Tide Gourmet truck owner, Richard Messier said the majority of feedback he’s received has been positive.

“About ninety percent of our feedback has been thumbs up,” Messier said.

Messier said when he heard there was discussion about the trucks, he started a comment book.

“I have 18 pages of nothing but good comments.

On the truck’s Facebook page, Messier thanked residents for coming to the selectman meeting in his support and comments left on his status were all positive.

“Oh yay! Might need a lobster roll tomorrow,” one commenter stated.

Others left brief, upbeat remarks like “wonderful” and “terrific.”

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Eileen Banisch said the trucks are an asset to the town.

“It gets people to the downtown area,” Banisch said.

First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said the issue is a “grey area.”

“We’re a long way from making a settled decision,” McPherson said.

http://www.shorelinetimes.com/articles/2013/08/01/news/doc51fa711ca31c1157935626.txt