LONG BRANCH:The city is looking into the feasibility of allowing a limited number of food trucks along the oceanfront this summer.
The city currently does not allow vending from Brighton Avenue to Seaview Avenue between Ocean Boulevard so an ordinance amendment would need to be amended to allow food trucks on Ocean Avenue in this area.
Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said the new had had talked about configuring the curb at some of these locations to allow it in the future by doing a cutout near some of the beach entrances.
Several council members said they wanted to see what it would take for the food trucks to be allowed this year.
Long Branch Comptroller Michael Martin said the city could sell as many as 10 medallions to food trucks to allow them to operate on the oceanfront.
"Mike has the right idea, if you're going to pick a number of vendors that you want to have along the oceanfront, sell the medallions," Long Branch Director of Building and Development Kevin Hayes said. "Otherwise if you open it up to everybody, you'll have the food cart wars down there."
The council would have to define the areas would be and the number of medallions it would sell.
City Attorney James Aaron said this process could help "attract the best of the trucks."
"You would have to understand where these are going to be located and make sure that area can fit and accommodate the number of licensees you're going to have," Aaron said.
Aaron said the city would likely have to set up a separate bid for each of the locations, because some of the locations may be considered better than others by the vendors.
Martin said the boardwalk construction would make the bidding process difficult as some spots could be eliminated as work progressed down Ocean Avenue. He suggested carving out spots and letting the food trucks "fight for a spot" on a first-come, first-served basis.
Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said she thought it would be best if the food trucks were only allowed until new concessions stands are built at West End Avenue and North Bath Avenue in the plans for the new boardwalk.
"I always thought of it as temporary until the concession stands are built," Billings said.
Billings also pointed out that the city would also have to look into how the food trucks could affect residents in the area before moving forward
The March 10 meeting was the first time the food trucks have been discussed by the council, and Woolley said he would more information at a future meeting.
"Let us take a look at the spots and we'll come back to (the council) with some suggestions on how to do it," Woolley said.