|Dear Planning Board Members.The intent of this letter is to present unified support for food truck(s) at the Lumbery and to address concerns regarding the food truck(s).
The Lumbery is proposing to host a single food truck on its site from 7A.M.-9P.M. A single truck in the morning that would possibly sell coffee and breakfast sandwiches, a single food truck in the afternoon for lunch then up to two trucks in the evening after the store has closed.
First we would like to present an overview of the benefits of said food truck(s).
- Continue the revitalization of the Town Center by adding vendors that have the potential to enhance the everyday lives of people living within Cape.
- Increase the potential of creating a “walking” downtown. It is nice to give residents a reason to utilize the new sidewalks. This has the potential of actually decreasing traffic if people are more inclined to walk to one of various destinations; the church, library, co-working, C-Salt, schools, etc. This also helps create community.
- Creating a gathering space. It is nice for individuals and families to have a safe, outdoor space to gather and eat yummy food. The Lumbery will provide picnic tables.
- If there are food options in Cape then individuals are less inclined to travel to South Portland, Portland or Scarborough. This will lower carbon emissions associated with unnecessary travel.
*These principles are supported by both the Town Comprehensive Plan and the Town Code of Ordinances. See below for relevant passages.
Next we would like to address potential concerns regarding said food truck(s).
- Cleanliness and sanitation: Each food truck is licensed and regulated by the State in terms of practices and protocols regarding health and safety. Each food truck provides their own trash containers and will remove any detritus that they have created.
- Traffic: We do not believe that 1 food truck during the day will be the tipping point that creates issues regarding traffic and safety. We are in favor of the Town initiating a study into the traffic situation in Cape Town center and addressing any issues that arise but we do not feel that the current situation should prevent the introduction of a single food truck during the day and an additional food truck in the evening.
- Pedestrian safety: We support the creation of a walking Town Center and do not believe food trucks will negatively affect pedestrian safety.
- Parking: There is ample parking at the Lumbery to support one food truck during Lumbery operating hours and a second food truck after operating hours.
- Bathrooms: Some food trucks are parked at sites that have bathroom access and others do not. There are no bathrooms provided at the popular food truck sites in both the East and West ends in Portland. We will provide a letter from a local food truck authority(Matt Noone;CEO of FoodTrux App) that will support this fact. Furthermore, during this pandemic, most restaurants are closed and individuals take it upon themselves to order take out and eat wherever they want. This is a similar concept.
- Existing lack of regulations regarding food trucks outlined in the Code of Ordinances: The Town Code Enforcement Officer has categorized the proposed food trucks as “Restaurants” and as such they will be held to the same standard already outlined in the code of ordinances. This is a permitted use. We encourage the Town to pursue future regulations in regards to food trucks, since they are a growing and popular type of small business. Allowing the Lumbery, a private property, to regularly host food trucks does not open the floodgates for food trucks throughout the Town.
In conclusion, we believe that the benefit of food trucks far outweighs any concerns. We, collectively, feel that food trucks have the potential to be a wonderful catalyst in revitalizing our beautiful Town center.
Michael Friedland, Alex Bettigole, Jennifer Stora, Ryan Holland: Owners of the Lumbery
Side note: Food trucks are in very high demand and most of them are booked throughout the high season. I have reached out to 40 food trucks and only a few would consider taking a chance on an unproven location. Here are the few that have offered their services: Crepe Elizabeth, Pizza by Fire, Lucky Lou’s, The Paleta Guy, Mainely Meatballs, Two Texans, PB&ME.
I have told them all that this is all pending approval by the Planning Board. If we do not receive approval at the May meeting then it becomes less likely that any food truck would have time slots available to service our location.
*Passages from the Town of Cape Elizabeth Comprehensive Plan
The 2017 comprehensive plan public opinion survey asked residents if they generally support or oppose new commercial development. Sixty percent of residents strongly (15%) or moderately (45%) support new commercial development. There is less support for establishing new commercial zones, suggesting that residents would like more development to be located in the existing commercial districts. This is consistent with the public comments made on the comprehensive plan online forum hosted on the town website, where village retail and restaurant uses are supported in the town center, as well as sidewalks.
Goal 1: The town shall develop strategies to accommodate tourism while protecting the interests of residents, our parks, open spaces, and neighborhoods.
2. Evaluate trends, impacts and opportunities arising from tourism activities in Cape Elizabeth and develop strategies to preserve both the town’s character and historic relationship with tourism.
3. Develop strategies to start and promote small businesses that serve residents and visitors.
Goal 2: The Town Center shall be promoted as the primary commercial area of Cape Elizabeth and shall be developed consistent with the Town Center Master Plan to meet the needs of residents and visitors.
4. Continue to implement the Town Center Master Plan (2014) and updates.
5. Create a village green.
6. Implement the Town Center Stormwater Plan.
7. Develop strategies to start and promote small businesses in the Town Center District that serve residents.
*Passage from the Town of Cape Elizabeth Code of Ordinances
SEC. 19-6-4. TOWN CENTER DISTRICT (TC) A. Purpose The purpose of this district is to encourage an identifiable Town Center that includes a village feeling, mixed retail and residential uses to serve residents, an environment inviting to pedestrians, a common meeting place, visual cohesiveness and enrichment and linkages to the Town’s open space and nearby school campus. The Town Center district boundaries reflect the prevalence of public buildings and commercial uses and the historic compactness of development. The Town Center District requirements are tailored to the unique characteristics of the Cape Elizabeth Town Center.
And if you would like to be part of a group whose intent is to take real action to ensure that our Town Center is revitalized then please leave your email as well.