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Village Board Discusses Food Truck Regulations

By Rich Place

The Springville Village Board on Monday spent the first hour of its meeting discussing potential food truck regulations, most notably where the vehicles can park and the fees to operate such a business.

The village board reviewed recommendations from the Village Planning Board that added a section to village code specifically for mobile food vendors.

The board agreed on a handful of changes, including reducing the distance a food truck can park in front of a restaurant from 200 to 100 feet; reducing the distance a food truck can park from an intersection from 100 to 40 feet; and keeping the fee at $150 per year instead of $50 per day as recommending by the planning board.

No official changes were made at the meeting on Monday, as the recommendations will be included in a new draft the village board is expected to approve at its next meeting in October.

“The purpose of adding this amendment to Chapter 110 was to address something new and not necessarily prohibit what is new,” said Mayor Bill Krebs. He later added, “if we want to encourage food trucks as an experience for our residents to have, then I think this could reflect that in some way.”

A 45-minute discussion by the village board on the code came following a 15-minute public hearing at which two local food truck vendors, along with Dylan Wheeler, owner of Dilly Dallies, spoke to the board.

Both Jake Cranston from Jake and the Fatman BBQ Catering and Robin Tyler from Moocheesy, a food truck expected to open soon, agreed on the majority of the regulations except the $50 per day fee.

“The rules and regulations I see are very fair, they are pretty much similar to any village or town I have seen that have their regulations set in stone,” said Cranston. “But I would just ask to reconsider that $50 per day. Right now, we pay $150 for the year in the village.”

Tyler agreed and also added she thought 200 feet from the front door of a brick-and-mortar restaurant is too restrictive.

“We are a small village, so that kind of eliminates a lot of the area,” she said. “A lot of the villages say within 100 feet — the city of Buffalo even says within 100 foot of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”

Trustee Nils Wikman later in the meeting agreed with the change in distance but offered to the board that current restaurant owners need to be kept in mind in terms of these regulations, specifically speaking about the distance.

“It’s got to be a concession on both sides,” he said. “Somebody is here with a brick and mortar restaurant and they’ve been here for many years, their argument is they pay taxes. A food truck comes in for the day and takes business from them.

“Well, that’s part of the competitive nature of business but there has to be some equity and I don’t think 100 feet is an unreasonable distance,” he said.

The board spent significant time weighing the specific distances — and where that would allow and prohibit food trucks from parking — with the help of Michael Kaleta, code enforcement officer.

He explained to the board the planning board’s rationale behind the specific distances and fees outlined and provided a map that shows where food trucks would be allowed to park if the distance was reduced from 200 feet to 100 feet.

“It really didn’t change as much as you’d think,” said Kaleta about reducing the prohibited area by 100 feet.

He noted that restaurants and other food establishments along Main Street between Buffalo and Franklin streets are spaced out as such that the only viable spot a food truck could park is in front of M&T Park or across the street there.

The primary factor outside of the main downtown business district isn’t the presence of food establishments but the lack of parking, he said, noting no parking is allowed on Main Street anywhere east of Franklin Street.

The regulations don’t impact areas like Chapel Street, Heritage Park or Shuttleworth Park, although trustees agreed that language should be added to make it clear a food truck can park in the municipal parking lot and not just on the street.

Kaleta explained to the board the idea of a food truck paying daily instead of an annual fee would allow those not expecting to be in the village often to pay a lesser fee than local trucks that would set up multiple times and it would give village officials better knowledge of where a food truck would be on a particular day.

Cranston during the public hearing noted the fees for several other municipalities, including Hamburg’s fee of $150 per year and East Aurora’s fee of $50 per year. The mayor and trustees all informally agreed to keep the fee at $150 instead of charging on a per-time basis as recommended by the planning board.

The board also discussed the differences between a public and private event, as language in the code allows for some exceptions for food trucks when the event is private. However, that line is blurred sometimes when the public can still purchase food.

Also discussed briefly was the impact the regulations will have on South Cascade Drive, but because no parking is allowed on the road there most times a food truck would set up it would be on private property.

The board reminded that food trucks must follow all current parking laws and regulations where applicable, like observing the two-hour time limit on Main Street, for example.

The board is expected to approve the regulations on food truck vendors during its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1 at 65 Franklin St.

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