Tonawanda News

The City

July 24, 2013

Tonawanda tables proposed food truck ordinance

Tonawanda News — The fight over food truck rules that has plagued both Amherst and Buffalo came to the City of Tonawanda Tuesday night, but no action was taken after the council tabled a resolution that was aimed at keeping the vendors away from the most populated areas of the city. 

The matter came up after food trucks began setting up shop on Niagara Street near Old Man River and Mississippi Mudds, officials said. Although business owners took issue with the vendors operating near the restaurants, police couldn’t tell them to move without a city law backing them up. 

“This is to help police ... to have an ordinance to enforce,” Council President Carleton Zeisz said. 

The original proposed resolution Tuesday would have made it illegal for food trucks to operate within a 1,000-foot radius of any brick and mortar restaurant. The measure also specified an application fee of $1,000, and a $500 annual renewal fee. Trucks would also not be allowed to operate in the city’s parks. 

While North Tonawanda and the Town of Tonawanda don’t have food trucks ordinances on the books, Tonawanda’s proposed measure is much stricter than laws eventually passed after extensieve debate in Buffalo and Amherst.

In those municipalities, the mandatory radius is only 100 feet from standing restaurants. Amherst charges $400 for the initial application and $200 for a renewal, while Buffalo recently dropped its prices to $800 and $500. 

In light of that information, the council discussed lowering the radius requirement to 500 feet and the cost to a $400 annual fee. 

“1,000 feet is basically (saying) ‘don’t come here,’” Zeisz said. 

But a 500-feet radius would still keep food trucks off of Niagara Street and Main Street, and away from most of the other popular areas of the city. 

“I don’t know where they would go,” Councilman Blake Boyle said. 

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