Chelsea Food Truck Ordinance

Councillor Roy Avellaneda

Recently, I have been approached by individuals who have been told that I was against having Food Trucks in the City of Chelsea.

That is totally false. I welcome food trucks in Chelsea. As a matter of fact, when I was the site coordinator for the Chelsea Latin American Music Festival, I sought out food trucks to insure a successful event.

I did however, vote against a food truck-zoning ordinance that was presented to the city council because I had objections to two key details that were not included in the ordinance.

First, the zoning ordinance did not include a specific process on where the trucks would be located. Boston, Somerville and Cambridge all designate locations where food trucks can locate as so they do not impact local restaurants. I simply want the Parking Commission to designate the spots rather than have a free for all where trucks roam like ice cream trucks.

Second, I wanted the trucks to be registered in Chelsea so that the excise taxes of the truck and meals taxes from the sales go to the City of Chelsea. If a truck is registered in Somerville and operates in Chelsea, all that money goes to Somerville. I do not think its fair or right that a food truck making money in Chelsea pays it to another city.  I also do not think its fair that a brick and mortar food establishment should have a disadvantage of paying property taxes, numerous licensing fees while a food truck pays a nominal fee to operate in Chelsea.

Many of my colleagues on the council agreed with me and rejected that zoning ordinance.  Shortly after the vote, I asked the City Attorney to help me draft a revised ordinance. I was told we would have to wait two years per Mass General Law .

The City Manager and Solicitor have recently told me we can instead allow food trucks by passing an ordinance instead of a zoning law.

That being the case, we expect to have a proposed food truck ordinance in June that will include measures that allows the city to receive the financial benefits of allowing food trucks while also not impacting current brick and mortar food establishments in Chelsea.

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