Tonawanda News

The City

July 28, 2013

A rolling debate

Tonawanda News — As the City of Tonawanda prepares for a debate over the best way to regulate the newest eateries on the block, other local municipalities are also considering enacting their own food truck laws. 

Both North Tonawanda and Kenmore don’t have any codes on the books governing the rolling restaurants, but both mayors said their legislative bodies have had discussions on the issue. 

“Why reinvent the wheel? We are looking at what other municipalities have done, like Amherst, and will probably have a public hearing on it,” Mang said, noting that progress on the matter is likely still a few weeks away. 

The City of Tonawanda, too, referenced other towns’ policies in creating their proposal, which was tabled Tuesday and called “very strict” by food truck advocates. The council was considering making it illegal for the trucks to operate within a 500-foot radius of a brick and mortar restaurant, while in both Amherst and Buffalo, the required radius is 100 feet. 

The 500-foot designation would essentially ban food trucks from operating on Niagara Street near Niawanda Park — a preferred destination for vendors due to its high volume of foot traffic.

Tonawanda was also considering implementing Amherst’s permitting costs of $400 for the initial application and $200 for a renewal, while Buffalo recently dropped its prices to $800 and $500.

The regulations in Amherst and Buffalo were a product of passionate disputes between truck advocates, restaurants and lawmakers, and Mang said he recognized the complicated nature of the situation. 

“It is a different situation for brick and mortar restaurants, but we also want to promote new business,” he said. “A hearing will allow both owners to be heard before anyone makes any decisions.” 

The region’s fleet of more than a dozen food trucks often frequent the City of Buffalo, but they do make stops in Kenmore and the Tonawandas. Saturday, food trucks will be at the Kenmore Village Improvement Society’s Lunch Beat event, and R&R BBQ was at Kenmore Baptist Church. 

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