By NEIL SCHULMAN
Food trucks need a license to operate in Neptune, and if they aren’t serving customers they can’t stay parked.
This weekend, the township had problems with both of those, as food trucks tried to remain in one place, go where they weren’t welcome, and share one license among multiple vehicles.
At the June 28 Neptune Township Committee Meeting, resident Richard Williams said that there had been issues in Ocean Grove. It turned out that wasn’t the only location.
“There was this controversial lobster truck that was in town over the weekend,” Williams said.
It spent hours parked at one location with its motor running, offering lobster rolls, he said.
“I ended up calling the police Sunday,” Williams said.
Township Administrator Vito Gadaleta said that regulations for food trucks say that they can only remain in one place for five minutes at a time unless they have customers. If nobody has bought food from them in the last five minutes, they must move. Trucks that are operating by using their motor instead of a generator might also run into issues with rules prohibiting idling vehicles, though enforcement of that is usually a DEP issue rather than a police one.
Gadaleta also said that trucks needed to get a mercantile license, which includes a photo ID. He said that there is a group of “out-of-state trucks that were floating a single license.”
The lobster truck was sharing its license with an ice cream truck and several others, and the driver didn’t always have it on him, which caused some trouble for him, Gadaleta said. There was a large soccer tournament this weekend, and the lobster truck driver decided to head over to the parks to sell his goods. Since the sports associations had arranged for their own vendors to the event, they called the police, who found he did not have a proper mercantile license.
Licenses have photo IDs, so it’s pretty obvious if they’re being used by someone who isn’t the operator, officials said
Gadaleta said that while the township has a code enforcement officer if there appears to be a problem with food trucks during the weekend when they are off, police are authorized to handle the situation.
Another resident asked if food trucks were required to post prices. She said that one ice cream truck had reportedly been charging $10 for a basic cone, shocking those who purchased them and were then told the price.