MOUNT DESERT — An agreement on the future location of the summertime farmers market and food trucks at the Northeast Harbor Marina was the outcome of a discussion Monday night among members of the Board of Selectmen and Harbor Committee.
The selectmen endorsed the committee’s recommendation to pave and provide electricity to a corner of Veterans Memorial Park, where the farmer’s market has been setting up on the grass, to create a permanent spot for both the market and the food trucks.
Public Works Director Tony Smith said he would work with the Harbor Committee on the specifics and could find money in his budget for the design and engineering work.
Two weeks earlier, several selectmen had expressed support for a proposal by Smith and Police Chief Jim Willis to relocate the half-day-a-week farmers market to a parking lot next to Harbor Drive and to move the food trucks from Harbor Drive to the circle where the Island Explorer buses stop. But the selectmen took no action, pending a review of that plan by the Harbor Committee.
Committee members, at their Nov. 14 meeting, strongly criticized that plan and voted 8-0 to recommend creating a permanent location for the farmer’s market and food trucks. Those eight committee members attended the selectmen’s meeting Monday.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that the farmers market is an accepted and welcomed addition to the town,” committee Chairman Rick Savage said. “The food trucks had a good report [this past summer] generally, although there were some things that needed improvement.
“But over a year ago, we felt that the farmers market needed a permanent location, and we think it makes sense to combine the two.”
Savage said that would require some “proper engineering and design.”
“We don’t want to go on the cheap; that wasn’t our goal,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money to make substantial, long-term improvements [at the marina], and it is recognized again as one of the finest on the coast. I hear that from a lot of yachtsmen. So we don’t want to just helter-skelter throw something in there.”
Selectman Matt Hart told Smith and Willis that their recommendation for the farmers market and food trucks was good, even though it was rejected in favor of the Harbor Committee’s alternative.
“You did what was asked, and it worked within the current infrastructure that’s there,” Hart said.
The Harbor Committee also has recommended that the number of food trucks at the marina be limited to two. There were two food trucks there this past summer. But an ordinance that voters approved in 2015 allows the town to issue up to five food truck licenses.
However, selectmen pointed out that, while that many are allowed, it doesn’t mean that many should be or will be issued for any one location.