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Brown Signs Food Truck Law

On Monday, Mayor Byron Brown signed Buffalo’s food truck rules into law. He waited until the last day to do so, and had he not signed it, it would have become law by default. 

The full text of the new ordinance is below. 

The law is imperfect from everyone’s point of view, but it has a built-in sunset provision, expiring in April 2013. At that time, the Common Council will review how the statute worked over the preceding 15 months and take suggestions from all sides regarding any proposed changes. 
 
The law mandates that trucks be 100′ from the exterior walls of any structure containing an open kitchen, 500′ from any special event requiring special permitting, and that the trucks pay a $1,000 annual license fee. 
 
What is different about this license from that in other cities is that there is no hidden charge – you don’t pay more for certain neighborhoods over any others (except for the CBD, which is governed by Buffalo Place). The only added charge is for parking. 
 
Furthermore, a proposal that brick & mortars were proposing would have required trucks to be limited to one truck per block face. This would have prevented events on city streets where trucks could line up in a row, due to supposed congestion issues. This was not included in the law. 
 
At some point in the near future, a Buffalo Cash Mob for the food trucks will be held at Canal Side, with ECHDC’s blessing. The date and time of that cash mob is TBD.
 
The truck owners with whom I’ve spoken are excited and relieved that this controversy is behind them, and already have potential spots scoped out. They have been waiting for this day since the middle of last year, and had been very patient. 
 
With this new statute and regulatory scheme, the food trucks are now legal, and food trucks are a fantastic way for talented people to show off the food they love – and love to make – with a much lower startup cost than a brick & mortar. Hopefully, the legalization of food trucks will lead to an even more vibrant mobile food scene in town, more innovation, and more experimentation. 
 
I’m pleased that we’ve joined the ranks of progressive, forward-looking cities that have carved out a way for food trucks to peacefully co-exist with existing restaurants, benefiting all involved. 

Buffalo Food Truck Ordinance

Photo courtesy Where’s Lloyd via Flickr.


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