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City considering regulations friendly to food trucks

Renee Allen
R&R BBQ serves customers in Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park earlier this year. (Sharon Cantillon / Buffalo News)

Draft regulations for food trucks, expected to be circulated internally among city lawmakers this week, include several proposals called for by food truck operators.

A template for proposed rules for mobile food vending in the city is being drafted, and Common Council members will be able to have input before an official proposal comes before the entire body for a vote, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. said.

Golombek called the draft measure a "fair compromise" that combines the best aspects of the proposals from each side in the debate.

"This is not the final law that's going to be going in front of the Council," he said during Tuesday's Council meeting in City Hall.

Golombek said the initial draft that lawmakers will review will include the requirement of a 100-foot buffer between an operating food truck and an existing restaurant.

The initial proposal will also include a "three strikes and you're out" provision, which would see a food truck permit revoked after the third violation.

"I would like to be very hard on these guys," Golombek told me today, noting that most of the food trucks have followed a set of self-imposed rules.

Here's what Golombek had to say about the issue at Tuesday's Council meeting:

Golombek said the initial proposal would call for a permit fee of more than $1,000, which would cover a 15-month period.

Both the Western New York Food Truck Association and Entrepreneurs for a Better Buffalo submitted proposals for food truck rules, after a committee of all parties failed to reach a compromise.

The proposal from Entrepreneurs for a Better Buffalo, a group representing some brick-and-mortar restaurants, was criticized by the food truck group as "protectionist."

Golombek said he does not like the proposal for special vending districts around Elmwood and Hertel avenues, that was suggested by the Entrepreneurs for a Better Buffalo.

The proposal for city rules would not cover the downtown business district, which would continue to fall under rules established by Buffalo Place, Golombek said.

The lawmaker said he'd like to see the trucks in his neighborhood.

"If I knew they were coming down my street at 5 o'clock," he said, "maybe I wouldn't make dinner tonight."

Read the Food Truck Association's proposal here, and the brick-and-mortar group's here.

City lawmakers tabled a set of regulations in July.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN


City of Buffalo | Common Council | food trucks
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