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′.

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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.

Proposed Food Truck Lawhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/76216760/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-apy5eod0zl44jfqrnoi//

37 comments

  • Looks good to me, shocking that the B&Ms are asking for trash bins of a certain size, the Towne and Jim’s Steakout have dumpsters the size of cars next to their buildings and I’m forever picking up trash from their restaurants on my porch and lawn. Additionally, the Towne cleans their grease bins off in the street leaving a trail down Elmwood Ave 200′ long. Just an example of how illogical these B&Ms can be. It’s a truck that serves food, you’d think we were letting all the criminals out of the holding center the way local poloiticians are treading on this. Much ado about a good taco.

  • Alan?

    Why are you defending food trucks to operate in the established restaurants territory? Will you do the same for a business that can supply services that “government Inc” supplies?

    Buffalo charges a garbage fee for the service they provide. Will you defend another sanitation company that wants to supply better service or the same service for less? They will operate 100 feet from the “Buffalo Sanitation Departments” head quarters.

    Competition is good as you say….

    • Tony, I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. What do carting companies competing with public garbage collection have to do with food trucks and competition with private brick & mortars?

  • Don’t be coy, Bedenko, you know exactly what Tony is saying here. It just doesn’t fit your statist brainjacket.

  • How is the “property line” defined for a multi-tenant commercial building? Is it the property line of the building, or the edge of the rented space of the restaurant?

    There are some buildings that cover the length of an entire block but contain a dozen storefronts. Seems silly to ban food trucks 100′ from the east end if the nearest restaurant is at the west end of the building at the other end of the block. I expect that is not the intent, but it could be clarified.

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea to require trucks to bring along a garbage can or two and dispose of the waste they generate, but obviously it has to be of a size that the truck can carry. Two 65 gallon bins seems a bit excessive for most trucks, though.

  • Alan

    Business is business.

    If I want to purchase a garbage truck and offer the same service the “Buffalo Sanitation Department” offers for less (or better service) will you support me? If not why?

    Instead of each household paying the “Buffalo Sanitation Department” a fee they will pay me instead. I will not operate my sanitation trucks within 200 feet of the “Buffalo Sanitation Department” office.

    I will deliver better service at the same or lower price. No different than a food truck offering better food at the same or lower price. Fair enough?

  • So you would publicly support changing the laws that give “Buffalo Sanitation Department” a monopoly of their service no less than you are for the taco trucks?

    • 1. I couldn’t care less about garbage service.

      2. If the people of Buffalo decided that they wanted the right to have multiple garbage trucks – private and public – rumbling down their streets every day, that’s great. Would I actively support it? See response #1, above.

      3. No one’s talking about a govt monopoly, so your comparison remains risible.

  • Everyone on the Council are retards, my god

  • @Tony – Your argument is dumb. The city government provides the sanitation service. You aren’t comparing apples to apples and you are trying to bate Alan into a completely unrelated argument. This is a private sector issue. Businesses competing with businesses, not businesses competing with government.

  • “Don’t be coy, Bedenko, you know exactly what Tony is saying here. It just doesn’t fit your statist brainjacket.

    Comment by Jim — December 21, 2011 @ 11:47 am”

    What he said.

    • I’ve already answered your ridiculous question/scenario, in detail. Government monopoly isn’t the topic, or even close to it.

  • In principle it’s the same topic.

    • Not remotely analogous. Btw, are you aware of legislation that prevents Buffalo residents from retaining a private carting company?

  • I can’t wait to hop over to the corner Government Deli, where Dear Leader has prepared us a nutritious and satisfying repast so that we may….wait, what?

  • Do you support that the city has legislation to prevent private carting companies? Yes or No? There are a few well qualified sanitation companies in erie county that can do the work most likely for less for our community.

    If yes then you should support the brick and motor businesses in their quest not to allow “private (food) carting companies”. If not your a hypocrite.

    If you support “private (food) carting companies” then you should support other guys that want to start providing garbage pick service in the city. Competition is good. I believe you or others mentioned that on this site.

    And alan? I’m on the food truck guys side… I would still have a minimum distance law because the investment in a brick and mortar business is usually far higher that some guys buying a food truck. Plus the guys who own the brick and motor pay property taxes which the food trucks don’t.

    • Tony – I asked you a specific question. Are you aware of any legislation in the City of Buffalo that would prevent a resident from having their garbage taken care of by a private company? If so, please provide me with the citation.

      Until you produce any such legislation, you haven’t proven your underlying premise and there’s no sense in arguing about it. I have heretofore been operating under the assumption that such a law exists, but that assumption could very well be wrong. Since you’re the one making the assertion, you carry the burden of proof.

      As for your supposition about food trucks and their tax burden, you’re misinformed, as they each have to own or rent a stationary brick & mortar commissary for food prep that is licensed and inspected by Erie County. One could argue that they’re actually taxed more often than a brick and mortar – once through the rent on the commissary, and again through gas taxes, sales taxes, parking fees, licensing fees, inspection fees, taxes on propane, and other expenses that brick and mortar restaurants do not share.

      In other words you aren’t completely on the food truck guys’ side, because you think that it’s right that the government provide a market protection to the brick & mortar restaurants. That’s quite anti-capitalist of you. Furthermore, when the weather in inclement, the restaurants have an advantage. The restaurants also enjoy a natural advantage in that you know exactly where ETS, Jim’s, or Zetti’s will be located on any given day. You have no such guarantee when it comes to a mobile vendor.

      I disagree with the city codifying a protectionist law in favor of restaurants, but understand that as a practical matter it’s going to happen, and I will opt for a fair regulatory scheme that draws a reasonable compromise.

  • The thing I hate the most about this law is the ridiculously high licensing fee. $1000 a year is too much and will serve as a barrier for people who want to get into the business. There is a provision in the law that they can operate within the radius of a permanent food service establishment with written permission from the owner.

    The food trucks are good for the city. It’s a shame that a vocal few restaurant owners who don’t want competition for the late-night “drunk dollar” are trying to edge them out. You don’t see Tempo, Chef’s and the Buffalo Chophouse in this fight.

  • Tony – I asked you a specific question. Are you aware of any legislation in the City of Buffalo that would prevent a resident from having their garbage taken care of by a private company? If so, please provide me with the citation.

    ——————

    Alan – I asked you a specific question. I’ll try to make it a little clearer for you.

    Let me ask you this way.

    Would you support a change in legislation that allows a city home owner to chose their sanitation company? Instead of having a protectionist law in favor of the “buffalo sanitation department” the home owner can chose “any other sanitation company” that may offer better service or a lower price? Yes or no?

    —————————————————–
    “As for your supposition about food trucks and their tax burden, you’re misinformed, as they each have to own or rent a stationary brick & mortar commissary for food prep that is licensed and inspected by Erie County.”
    —————————————————–

    So the taco truck guys own a building where they pre-make the excellent tacos they sell? The guy who owns the wiener cart on the corner near the court building owns a building where he pre-cooks the hotdogs before loading them up in his cart?

    • Would you support a change in legislation that allows a city home owner to chose their sanitation company? Instead of having a protectionist law in favor of the “buffalo sanitation department” the home owner can chose “any other sanitation company” that may offer better service or a lower price? Yes or no?

      I already answered your question. Your question, however is based on the premise that a homeowner cannot already do that. Have you found that statute for me, or are we still dealing in hypotheticals?

      So the taco truck guys own a building where they pre-make the excellent tacos they sell? The guy who owns the wiener cart on the corner near the court building owns a building where he pre-cooks the hotdogs before loading them up in his cart?

      No, I said they “have to own or rent” a commercial kitchen / commissary in a building where food prep is done. The tacos and burritos are assembled in the truck. I have no idea what the guy with the hot dog truck has to do.

  • A quick search will tell you that the proposed laws are pretty lax and cheap. No special districts, no certain feet away from a bathroom, school, discounts on parking, no daytime/nighttime permits, no limitations on the number of trucks per block, no plaza/curb/parking separations, no hour restrictions, no limit on the number of permits issued, allowed in residential neighborhoods, no restrictions in locations where parking is limited, I could go on and on.

    While not as cheap as say NYC, Portland, and Austin yet far cheaper than most cities with far less regulation except for the 100ft versus the typical 50 ft. Which in my opinion is nothing.

    I’m interested, what more could food trucks want?

  • Alan…The answer is yes or no..

    Would you support a change in legislation that allows a city home owner to chose their sanitation company? Instead of having a protectionist law in favor of the “buffalo sanitation department” the home owner can chose “any other sanitation company” that may offer better service or a lower price? Yes or no?”

    Was that a yes or was that a no?

    “I already answered your question. Your question, however is based on the premise that a homeowner cannot already do that. Have you found that statute for me, or are we still dealing in hypotheticals?”

    Your like trying to nail jello to a wall. You did not answer yes or no.

    Yes, a home owner can call another business to come pick some trash up but they are still forced to pay the “fee for services” from the “Buffalo Sanitation department”…That protectionism law is still in place…

    Now once again I will ask you a question again.

    Will you support a change in legislation that will allow a buffalo home owner not to use the “Buffalo Sanitation department” or pay their fee if they choose to have that service provided by another competing sanitation company. We’ll make sure that that competing sanitation business also operates at a distance of 200 feet from the “buffalo sanitation” department.

    Yes or No.

    • I already told you I wouldn’t care. Your insistence on a yes or no answer is dumb. Life doesn’t often have a black/white duality like that.

      If people want to make that change, great. Would I advocate for it? No because I don’t care.

  • Then why do you care about the people in taco truck but don’t care about the people who are home owners who have to deal with a group of people (Buffalo Sanitation Department) who have protectionist laws in place?

    (you can replace “Buffalo Sanitation Department” with any government service that can be offered by the private sector. A little competition never hurt anyone)

    What is good for one group is good for another wouldn’t we all agree?

    Or is this person correct?

    “Bedenko, you know exactly what Tony is saying here. It just doesn’t fit your statist brainjacket.”

    • Then why do you care about the people in taco truck but don’t care about the people who are home owners who have to deal with a group of people (Buffalo Sanitation Department) who have protectionist laws in place?

      Because I am a customer of the taco truck’s and would like their business to succeed. Because government should not choose winners and losers among private enterprises.

      Your trash scenario pits private enterprises against a government service. It’s altogether different.

      But I will tell you this, since you’re hung up on it.

      In Clarence, we have three approved sanitation companies that are authorized to do business in the town to collect residential trash. They come Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. That means that we have sanitation trucks from three separate companies on the town streets (ripping them up, btw) on three consecutive days of the week.

      A few years ago, we held a referendum in town so that the town would pick a single trash collection company under a townwide contract. The service would be unchanged in quality and response time, but we’d have fewer trucks on the streets on fewer days, and the rate would be significantly less than what we pay now. It got voted down. I think that’s stupid. I don’t think competition is always good in every instance, I don’t think the profit motive is helpful in every scenario, and I don’t think that privatization of everything is the answer to everything.

      That’s how democracy works. If you disagree with a policy, I can promise you that your efforts to corner me into a childish “yes or no” answer aren’t going to change it. What will change it is organizing and advocating for whatever change you want, and getting the laws changed to match your view. You may win and you may not. If the people of Buffalo are so dissatisfied with the trash service the city provides that they want to change it, that’s fantastic. But because I don’t care one way or another, I wouldn’t give a crap.

  • “I already told you I wouldn’t care. Your insistence on a yes or no answer is dumb. Life doesn’t often have a black/white duality like that.”

    Your insistence of not answering it makes you look like a hypocrite.

    • You asked if I would “support” it. I told you I wouldn’t care. Therefore, I would neither support nor oppose it. This is the third time I’ve provided you with your requested answer.

  • You are just a hypocrite alan. That was the whole point of me posting in this thread was to show that. The man picking up our trash is no less a man than that the guy running a restaurant or a food truck. But you don’t care because you want to eat tacos.

    Very few people have the opportunity you and I have to reach so many people on the internet. I’m sorry but I think we both have a responsibility not to shit on the kids in our community. You don’t give a shit about the kids as long as you get to eat your taco, right?

    “Because I am a customer of the taco truck’s and would like their business to succeed. Because government should not choose winners and losers among private enterprises.”

    False statement Alan.

    If if was true you would care that the “Buffalo Sanitation Department” is protected against http://www.modern-corp.com/ from offering services in the City of Buffalo. I only used the “Buffalo Sanitation Department” as an example because they charge each home owner a fee for a service. No different than a fee that is charged by a restaurant or a Taco truck for food service.

    • So, Tony, I’ll chalk you up for being one of the people who would support people being able to opt out of socialized police and fire services and retain the services of a private security company or fire company, or have no protection whatsoever.

      As for whether Jamie has been reading my “bullshit”, I don’t really care. I’m sorry he’s subjected to yours here.

  • Has Jamie read the bullshit you have been posting up lately?

  • By the way, I would not support a law that permits Buffalo homeowners to opt out of paying school taxes if they send their kids to private school, because it’s in society’s best interests that we have strong public schools.

    Looks like the residents of the city have made a decision to have a centralized trash system. Don’t forget that government is of and by the people. It is completely within their power to change this.

  • Well Alan.

    Jim is correct on his earlier comment.

    Oh but lets look at it as it is. As long as you can stuff your face with a taco you don’t care about the interest of the restaurant owners.

    And I guess because you don’t benefit from allowing parents who may want to opt out of the “Buffalo School Department” in the best interest of their kids you don’t care.

    “As for your supposition about food trucks and their tax burden, you’re misinformed, as they each have to own or rent a stationary brick & mortar commissary for food prep that is licensed and inspected by Erie County. One could argue that they’re actually taxed more often than a brick and mortar – once through the rent on the commissary, and again through gas taxes, sales taxes, parking fees, licensing fees, inspection fees, taxes on propane, and other expenses that brick and mortar restaurants do not share.”

    You threw this out there. Back it up.

    So the taco truck guys own or rent a brick and mortar commissary for food prep? I thought they assembled those made in the USA tacos in the truck on location.

    • Tony – a private, for-profit restaurant has an “interest” in not being competed against? Pray, tell me how you come up with that.

      Catering trucks are regulated by Subpart 14-4 of the New York State Sanitary Code.

      14-4.95 Commissaries.

      (a) All mobile food service establishments and pushcarts are to be serviced only at a commissary operated under a valid permit issued under Subpart 14-1 of this Part or operated under license or permit of an appropriate regulatory authority at a frequency necessary to maintain the sanitary conditions of the mobile unit or pushcart, and in any event at least daily for pushcarts and every 72 hours for mobile food service establishments.

      (b) All food served by mobile food service establishments and pushcarts is to be obtained from its commissary or other source meeting the requirements of section 14-1.31 of this Part.

      Hope that helps.

  • I didn’t ask you to show me the law Catering trucks are regulated by Subpart 14-4 of the New York State Sanitary Code.

    I asked you the following

    “So the taco truck guys own or rent a brick and mortar commissary for food prep? I thought they assembled those made in the USA tacos in the truck on location.”

    • I didn’t ask you to show me the law Catering trucks are regulated by Subpart 14-4 of the New York State Sanitary Code.

      Yes, you did.

      You threw this out there. Back it up.

      So, I backed it up with the statute.

      Yes, they rent a brick & mortar commercial commissary for food storage and preparation, as they are required to by state law. The prepared ingredients are them loaded on the truck and used for on-site catering, and the ingredients are assembled into tacos from the truck.

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