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RIDGEFIELD Food trucks to park at brewery

July 28, 2018

RIDGEFIELD — Beer drinkers might soon be able to grab a snack on their way out of Route 7’s Nod Hill Brewery, thanks to a new ordinance that will let the business apply to have one or more food trucks in its parking lot.

The new rule — approved almost unanimously by more than 50 voters in a town meeting this week — creates an exception for breweries and wineries to a 2016 rule that does not allow mobile food vendors in one spot for more than 15 minutes, except for two food trucks that were grandfathered in.

It was sent to a town meeting after nearly 400 residents, or more than 2 percent of voters, signed Nod Hill Brewery’s petition, which requires the town to hold a vote on the proposal.

Supporters argued the food truck option would help the popular brewery continue to attract business to Ridgefield.

“We are an integral part of the town and we want to continue to be that way for a long time,” co-owner Robert Kaye told the crowd Wednesday. “This will help.”

The ordinance allows breweries and wineries to apply for permits for food trucks as long as they only operate on that property and during the “general hours” of the business.

Some selectmen and residents worried the “general hours” language was too vague or that the food trucks could create parking problems. But Kaye agreed to say on the record at the meeting that the truck would not stay on the property after the business closes, except maybe for a short time to break down.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said, as with any business, the police department would handle any parking problems.

One nearby restaurant owner said he worried the food truck would unfairly draw customers away from other businesses.

“Right now the way I see it, it benefits one party and it will hurt every brick-and-mortar business on that street,” he said.

Others, though, argued that the brewery and food truck will attract different customers than a sit-down dining experience. Some said, too, that helping Nod Hill be successful means more business for the town as a whole, since it will draw customers from other towns into Ridgefield.

“We should do whatever we can to encourage a new business and let the market dictate,” one resident said. “If the food trucks don’t make money, they go away. If they do, bully for the owners.”

aquinn@newstimes.com

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