SOUTHINGTON — Spanish Soul food could be the latest addition to Plantsville’s offerings after the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a new food trailer.
John Ortiz is preparing a food trailer he plans to set up at 824 South Main St., outside Isabella’s Barber Shop. Ortiz already rents space at the building for his graphic design business, Creations Images.
Ortiz will be the second food truck owner to get town approval recently. Wolcott restaurateur Marty DiVito is readying his food truck for a seasonal spot on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike where he'll offer steak sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and his own relish. DiVito got permission from the ZBA this winter to set up his food truck for one year.
Anticipating more food truck and trailer applications, town officials have formed a subcommittee to consider changes and clarifications.
New food truck regulations?
Christina Volpe, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, is getting representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the restaurant industry, former town leaders and others to tackle the issue.
She said it’s important to have clear rules and definitions to help guide owners of food trucks, trailers and carts.
“We’re getting people because of the pandemic who are initiating their own businesses. It’s so vital for us to define it.” Volpe said.Town approval
The Zoning Board of Appeals allowed Ortiz to operate on South Main Street but prohibited him from leaving his food trailer overnight.
Ortiz will pull the trailer, currently in storage, with his truck. He was glad to get town approve for the business but said moving it every night is an inconvenience that will also put wear and tear on his truck.
“If I’d known I would have bought a smaller trailer,” Ortiz said.
Alicia Novi, Zoning Board of Appeals chairwoman, said the regulations currently require food trailers to be moved each night. A food truck that’s in the same place all the time would fall under the town’s regulations for a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“If we let him leave his trailer, it’s becoming a fixture,” Novi said.
She hopes the food truck subcommittee could suggest new regulations that have more clarity on the differences between food trucks, food carts and restaurants.
However, those wishing to do business in town are responsible for determining what Southington allows.
“It is up to them to do the research into what the regulations are for what they plan to open,” Novi said.
Isabella Gesnaldo, owner of the South Main Street property and the barber shop, said it’s a great location for Ortiz and good timing.
“During these COVID times when people just feel like convenience is what they’re looking for, I think this is really convenient,” she said. “He’s very, very excited about opening up his food truck.”
Gesnaldo has run the shop since 2006. She started on Center Street.