In an effort to safeguard the approximately one dozen restaurants in town from food trucks setting up shop in village parking lots, the Saugerties Village Board is expected to approve a moratorium on the vehicles at its June 18 meeting.
Speaking at the board’s May 31 year-end business meeting, and again at Monday night’s workshop meeting, Mayor William Murphy said there have been a number of people asking to bring food trucks, the type that sell hot dogs, hamburgers and in one case, tacos, into the village.
“I guess they heard that we are growing into a tourist destination,” Murphy said.
Village trustees are rushing to get a moratorium in place because there is no law on the books prohibiting food trucks. Because of this, the board agreed Monday night to let two of the trucks set up shop in the village; one is already up and running in a parking lot on Ulster Ave., and the other will be ready to go in the coming weeks and will be located in the parking lot of the Speedy Mart convenience store on Main Street.
The owner of the truck that will be in the Speedy Mart parking lot already operates out on Peoples Road near the HITS grounds. When the horse show leaves town, he will move his truck to a parking lot in the village.
“While we have no law prohibiting them, we don’t want to see them take over the village,” Murphy said.
And while the moratorium is in place, the board will be crafting a law that will deal with the four-wheel food merchants.
“Our attorney has told us that he is not sure that we can outright prohibit them, but we are still researching the matter,” Murphy added.
“I really don’t think we should allow these food trucks to come in and compete with local restaurants, whose workers are paying taxes here,” said trustee Brian Martin. “We have to be loyal to our businesses.”
“If we didn’t have 12 restaurants in the village then there would be no problem,” Murphy said.
One of the possible solutions being looked at is limiting the trucks to the village’s commercial business zone out on Ulster Avenue, where there is only one restaurant, trustees said.
“Why not just ban it out of the village?” asked trustee Vince Buono.
“Letting these trucks in could open a Pandora’s box,” Murphy said.
Another of the trustee’s concerns, in addition to hurting local businesses, is traffic. They are worried that motorists looking to grab a quick bite to eat might park their vehicles and block traffic in the downtown portion of the village.
While the moratorium is in place, Alex Wade, who is in charge of special projects for the village, will research drafting a law that would regulate when and where the trucks could park and during what times.