CLAREMONT — The city council approved a new policy to allow food trucks in Claremont and setting terms of food truck permits Wednesday night.
Food truck operators will have to get a permit from the city clerk and a license from the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office. The permit will be denied if “any of the persons has been convicted of an offense involving activity which if repeated would pose a threat to the public safety of the citizens of the city or which involves dishonest, fraudulent or deceptive practices ... If a permit is denied for any reason the applicant may appeal the denial to the city council.”
It goes on. Normally new ordinances are read aloud to be included word for word in the written record, and also for the benefit of people viewing the city council meetings on Claremont Community Television. As the ordinance was quite lengthy, Mayor Lovett offered that the council could suspend its rules and skip the reading.
However, she noted that a citizen had written to her asking that new ordinances be read aloud. As it happened, the internet was not working during this portion of the meeting. Councilman Nick Koloski was the only councilor present to have supplied himself with a paper copy, so he read the ordinance aloud until councilors Andrew O’Hearne and Scott Pope took over reading.
Several questions came up. Pope asked the policy committee to talk about the background check requirement. “We have fixed food vendors that we don’t require a background check for,” said Pope.
“They’re transient,” said councilor Abigail Kier. “If something happened it might be difficult to locate them. We decided if they’re selling in school zones it might be appropriate to have background checks.”
“In my list of concerns I brought this up,” said Koloski. “It didn’t make sense to me.”
Koloski said the background check has to be paid for by the applicant, making an additional fee. Further, an applicant with a clean record could then hire someone with a criminal record and no one would be the wiser. “You could operate a brick and mortar restaurant and not have to do this.”
Cody Raymond, one of the owners of Farro’s Deli, said she wasn’t opposed to it. “My biggest concern is allowing designated parking spaces in a historic district.”
Two of the spaces will be across Broad Street from the library. Another space will be at the airport, and two spaces will be in the lower parking lot of the Visitors’ Center.
The new food truck policy passed, with Pope and Koloski the only No votes.