Buffalo food trucks to expect lower fees, possible access to Canalside
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • March 04, 2013 @ 10:37am
It’s been a full 13 months since a detailed set of rules was agreed upon by Buffalo’s Common Council to formally regulate the city’s fleet of food trucks.
Since late January 2012, the Knight Slider, Amy’s Truck, Black Market Food Truck, Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs, the Sweet Hearth, the Cheesy Chick (in the process of being sold) and Pizza Amore (focused on sit-down restaurant in Grand Island) have entered the fray, lending depth and variety while confirming that the mobile food truck scene was more than just a temporary fad in Buffalo.
April 1 is the date when the initial terms agreed upon by the City of Buffalo and the WNY Food Truck Association expire, and the two groups plan to meet again to revise the regulations and consider adjustments. The discussions will tentatively begin in a public forum on March 12, and as The Buffalo News’ Jill Terreri noted, a lower licensing fee and possible access to Canalside are in the works.
The $1,000 permit fee required for Buffalo’s trucks to operate within the city limits was hotly debated when the ordinance was first passed in early 2012, but the WNY Food Truck Association agreed to the terms, knowing that a review period would approach quickly and the ability to vend legally was the top priority.
In comparison to other Rust Belt cities, Buffalo’s fee is grossly high—Cleveland charges a $100 license per individual parking spot in the city, while Pittsburgh food trucks have concerns over an annual, non-pro-rated $700 fee.
The prospect of vending at Buffalo Place concerts Canalside is certainly alluring to food trucks—after all, 15,000 people turned out for Salt-N-Pepa at Thursday at the Harbor last year—but zoning rules come into play, making permission a little more murky. Here’s a link to a zoning map of Buffalo Place, including 100% and 50% zones.
Currently, there’s a separate food truck license for Buffalo Place and the City of Buffalo, and as North Council Member Joseph Golombek said in Terreri’s article, a comprehensive investigation into revising the regulations may adjust the costs and approved vending locations.