Proposed Buffalo Food Truck Law Unveiled
Councilman Joseph Golombek has circulated the proposed food truck law for the city of Buffalo reproduced below for review by his colleagues on the council and the food truck stakeholders and their opponents.
It is a compromise measure that incorporates the only two complaints that really came up as legitimate concerns on the part of the restaurants; firstly, it requires the trucks to have two 65 gallon trash cans set up at all times that they’re serving food. Secondly, the brick & mortar opponents win a victory in that the trucks must stay 100′ away from the property line of any existing restaurant. (The trucks wanted it to be 100′ from the front door of any such facility.) In the case of a special event, the radius is 500′.
The trucks must physically measure the distance through the use of a measuring wheel, which can be purchased at any hardware store.
Trucks must be licensed annually by the city for a $1,000 fee, and a fine schedule for noncompliance with the regulations is set forth. The license is per truck, not per business, and the owner must undergo a background check, because I suppose one doesn’t want one’s pulled pork sandwich served by an ex-felon or something.
The one glaring omission I see here is that there may be times where the food trucks have permission from brick & mortar restaurants to set up nearby. For instance, this regulation may forbid Lloyd’s taco truck from setting up at Main & Mohawk now that there is a deli at that corner. Some restaurants may understand that competition and more people are good things. There should be a provision in the law that allows for exceptions if the truck has a brick & mortar’s consent.
In addition, the definition of “property line” is, to me, ambiguous. Is it the property line of the building in which the restaurant and its kitchen are housed, or is it the “property line” of the leased premises. For instance, are we talking about the entire Main Place Mall, or just the portions of it leased to food vendors? Are we talking about just Zetti’s on Elmwood, or the entire building in which it’s housed? This needs clarification.
Other than that, it’s a solid compromise law that ought to have been passed months ago, before food truck patrons were forced to stand in line in 20 degree weather to grab tacos and burgers. The common council must pass this law before the winter is over.