New Milford, CT: New Milford’s food truck ordinance approved

By Julia Perkins   |  The Greater New Milford Spectrum

NEW MILFORD — Businesses will now be permitted to set up food trucks on their lawn.

Town Council voted unanimously Monday evening to approve an ordinance that will permit entrepreneurs to have food trucks on site on a regular basis.

The rule, which was created with the urging and help from Housatonic River Brewery, could allow business and food truck owners to work together for both of their benefits, said Karen Pollard, economic development director said.

“For those businesses that are in a position to have a food truck on their location, this gives them the opportunity to partner with another business,” she said. “A non-food serving entity can partner with a food-serving entity and make their businesses more attractive.”

Previously, food trucks were not allowed on private property more than four times a year.

Mayor Pete Bass said this could bring more enjoyment to residents and encourage people to visit New Milford.

“Any way to bring more economic vitality to town is a benefit to all of us,” he said.

Ridgefield has a similar ordinance that allows food trucks at wineries and breweries, while Bethel allows them in Meckauer Park. But New Milford’s is unique in that it requires a host business for these types of trucks, Pollard has said.

Council members approved a tighter version of an original proposal. The latest version requires more steps to approval than the first version and a fee structure of $80 for five days to set up and $160 for a month.

Only 20 permits for food trucks can be approved at one time, a rule Town Council added to address concerns at public hearings about an overabundance of these trucks, Pollard said.

“We’ve addressed all the concerns and we came up with a very balanced ordinance,” she said.

The health department also needs to collect an Itinerant Vendor Annual License of $125 or a temporary license for $50, which is good for 14 days. These licenses include one inspection. Re-inspections cost $100 each.

The health department decides whether a food truck can operate in New Milford, while the mayor’s office and police chief approves the actual location based on safety.