The New Milford Town Council is about to vote on a new food truck ordinance that could make life a lot better for local New Milford Breweries.

The vote, which is scheduled during the next Town Council meeting on July 22, is expected to pave the way to allow food trucks to be parked in front of select businesses in New Milford. Right now, the law prohibits trucks from parking on private property more than four times in a year.

There will be no change in the current ordinance that does not allow food trucks to just set up shop anywhere within the town of New Milford, however, according to News Times, in order to keep the trucks from just parking anywhere, they must be associated with a business that will partner with them and serve as a host. Also, businesses with established kitchens would not allowed to host food trucks, and food trucks are not allowed to set up within 250 feet of an established restaurant.

The new ordinance is expected to benefit some of the local breweries now open in New Milford.

As previously reported, Dave Littlefield, who is the owner of Housatonic River Brewery, has been trying to have food trucks onsite since opening Housatonic last Fall. Other towns have successfully navigated this issue, and if you go to Charter Oak in Danbury, Nod Hill in Ridgefield, Veracious in Monroe or Reverie in Newtown, there's every chance there will be a food truck outside serving up goodies while you try a couple of microbrews. Housatonic is hoping to use the blueprint that other towns in the area have used successfully to allow food trucks onsite on weekends.

Dave has the support of many nearby restaurants, all of whom have sent letters saying that they see the brewery as a destination, not competition. They have menus for delivery from most nearby restaurants, and Littlefield says that will not change.

Also, the new ordinance wouldn't be restricted to just breweries, it would be expanded to include other non-food-related businesses. There would be fees charged like $80 for a two week set up and $140 for a month. This is in addition to the existing health permit and $10 fire department fee if propane is used. Town Council members feel that the set fees would show that the food trucks are also willing to make an investment in the community and would add a certain degree of legitimacy.

CT Insider reports that New Milford's Economic Development Director Karen Pollard is optimistic that the new ordinance would be the shot in the arm that some of the local businesses need to attract more tourism.

We think there are opportunities for businesses and food trucks to be partners working together to improve their businesses. The trucks will have to be approved by the health department to operate in New Milford and then the mayor, police chief and possibly zoning would sign off on the location to ensure it’s safe and not blocking sight lines.
We do want to pass this before the summer gets away from us because that’s when they’ll be the most popular. The perception of food trucks has improved in the past 10 years as the quality of food has improved and are now a draw. Food trucks can gather a following on social media and people will turn out for individual trucks or food truck festivals.

Other Connecticut towns have similar ordinances that have been successful, including Ridgefield, which approved the change last summer.

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