City Food Truck, Taxi Rules About to Change

City Councilor William J. Macek.

Outdated food truck and taxi rules are about to get a makeover.

Councilor William J. Macek took the lead at suggesting reforms during a meeting of the council’s Administration and Finance Committee meeting Thursday night. Macek said vehicles akin to large motor homes are replacing the traditional view of small hot dog carts.

“Downtown is not a suitable parking location for these trucks, Macek said. He explained large trucks use multiple parking spaces and their compressors make too much noise.

City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. said Boston’s ordinance might serve as a model. He explained Boston uses a lottery system to ensure the best sites are fairly allocated among competing food vendors. He said the city also makes provisions for sites at colleges, MBTA stations, Rose Kennedy Greenway and other “high traffic sites.”

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle said Haverhill Stadium might be among few sites suitable for larger food vendors. Councilor Colin F. LePage, committee chairman, also suggested Haverhill review Lowell’s ordinances for additional examples.

The committee said the city currently allows food trucks at seven locations and is considering at least two more sites. Members decided to delay action for further study.

Councilors did, however, suggest immediate changes to taxi cab rules.

There are currently about 30 taxi licenses in the city with eight in use, said Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas. Macek suggested changes to outdated gender language, suggesting removal of male-only pronouns. Current requirement for driver badges should be replaced with police-issued identification cards instead.

Councilors also said it is more appropriate for the police chief or his designee to decide who should receive licenses and determine taxi features rather than the mayor, as current rules require.

The committee will bring its recommendations to the full city council.