MOUNT DESERT — Food trucks would be a great way to attract more people to the marina area in Northeast Harbor in the summertime, according to Jackie Hewitt, the town’s economic development consultant.
“That’s something that a lot of people seem to want,” she told the board of selectmen Monday night. “It’s an opportunity to bring a little bit more activity to the harbor.”
The selectmen agreed. They endorsed her idea of drafting an ordinance regulating mobile vending, as well as an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow vending at the marina, both of which would need the approval of voters at town meeting.
“I think it’s a great idea,” selectman Martha Dudman said.
Selectman Dennis Shubert said his only concern was that mobile vendors would be competing with permanent businesses in town that pay property taxes. But he and other board members agreed that shouldn’t be an insurmountable obstacle.
Board member Matt Hart suggested that existing local businesses could be given “first crack at the opportunity” to do mobile vending at the marina.
“Absolutely, you ask them first,” Hewitt agreed. “You tell them, ‘We really want you to participate. Would you come down and do this?’ That’s giving them another business opportunity.”
Hewitt said the mobile vending ordinance might establish “a lower license fee for (Mount Desert) residents versus people from away.”
Selectman Tom Richardson said he wants to make sure that “whatever this ordinance does, it doesn’t make it real easy for outsiders to come in.”
Board members agreed with Hewitt that mobile vending at the marina could be a good opportunity for local businesses to expand or diversify.
“We think about the businesses on Main Street, but there are also a lot of caterers in our community, and that might be something to explore,” Hart said.
“It could be a great way for kids to make some money in the summer,” Dudman added.