City Offers Hearing for Non-Motorized Street-Food Carts

Special to the Patriot-Bridge

Boston City Councilors Gabriela Coletta, Julia Mejia, and Brian Worrell will hold a hearing to discuss an ordinance to increase regulations, and enhance accessibility for non-motorized street-food charts virtually on Tuesday, November 28, at 2pm via Zoom.

“Street vending is one of the oldest informal types of commerce. Boston street-food vendors can be found in all neighborhoods, however the regulations to legally sell their food, beverages and goods, remains unclear and inaccessible. This ordinance seeks to create food entrepreneurship opportunities for people while streamlining the process and making it more accessible for individuals that do not have the economic means to afford a food truck nor purpose a brick and mortar establishment,” said Councilor Coletta. “I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure we are breaking down barriers and providing another economic mobility tool in Boston,”

“Our office is excited to expand innovative approaches that strengthen economic prosperity,” said Councilor Mejia. “This proposal builds upon a regulation implemented in 2021, filed by our office, creating a licensing process for residential kitchens. We seek to broaden the ways for conducting business in Boston, empowering and supporting more individuals to launch their own enterprises. Street vending is already a presence in the City of Boston, and we look forward to formally recognizing and regulating it within the City code while providing clear and transparent guidelines.” 

“I look forward to working on this ordinance that will streamline the food cart licensing process. As a small business owner, I know red tape can be a major barrier, especially for those who might speak languages other than English. Along with Councilor Coletta, I want to ensure the process for food cart entrepreneurs is simple, fair and accessible as we continue to remove roadblocks for businesses throughout the city.” said Councilor Worrell.

The ordinance would amend the City of Boston Municipal Code, Chapter 17, Section 17-22, Permitting and Regulation of Non-Motorized Street Food Carts, and apply to non-motorized, street food cart operations engaged in the business of cooking, preparing, and distributing food or beverage. Additionally, permit fee charges are decreased to increase financial accessibility. The regulations establish clear, streamlined application and approval processes, along with time limits for approvals to establish predictability in business planning. It also outlines clear guidelines for operations, permit fees, and enforcement. 

This new language also proposes the establishment of a Non-Motorized Street Food Carts Committee within the City of Boston consisting of the Public Works Department, the Inspectional Services Department, the Boston Transportation Department, the Office of Economic Opportunities and Inclusion, and the Boston Fire Department for the purpose of reviewing applications for permits, establishing pre-approved vending zones, and establishing rules and regulations as appropriate.

The Committee on Government Operations will hold a virtual hearing on November 28, 2023 at 2:00 PM re: Docket #1384 – An ordinance establishing street food enterprises in the City of Boston Municipal Code by inserting Chapter 17, Section 22, Permitting and Regulation of non-motorized street food carts. Members of the public are encouraged to provide written or oral comments. 

** To view the hearing online please visit: or via broadcast on Xfinity 8/RCN 82/Fios 964.

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