Portland OKs food trucks, rejects panhandling ban

11:33 PM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The City Council in Portland voted on two controversial items Monday night. One dealing with food trucks, the other with pandhandling in medians.

Councilors unanimously approved the food truck ordinance, which a special task force has been working on for several months. The council listened to public comment on both sides of the issue. No one that spoke was opposed to food trucks entirely, but many took issue with the specific rules being proposed. Some said they were too restrictive, and others said they didn't go far enough to protect existing restaurants.

Councilors agreed that they would likely revisit the issue in a year after seeing how the ordinance is implemented, and possibly make changes.

The council voted down a proposal that would ban people from standing in medians. The council took up the issue at the request of Portland Police, who said they were concerned about the safety of panhandlers standing in medians around the city.

Several advocates for the homeless community spoke out against the measure, calling it an attempt to criminalize and hide homelessness. Two people did speak in favor of the ban. One of them recalled seeing an intoxicated man panhandling at the intersection of Congress and Valley Streets weaving in and out of traffic.

Councilors voted down the proposal 6-3.


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