Strict limits on food trucks this summer

The truck at the Speedy Mart will be permitted,  but not much else. (photo by Robert Ford)

The truck at the Speedy Mart will be permitted, but not much else. (photo by Robert Ford)

Aiming to protect Saugerties restaurants against an influx of food trucks this summer, village trustees have introduced a law regulating where these vehicles or pushcarts can be located.

“We don’t want these rampant through the village,” Mayor William Murphy said. “We want to make sure there is no competition with village restaurants, because they pay property taxes and the trucks and carts don’t.”

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Speaking at the April 15 meeting, Murphy noted that last year the board adopted a moratorium on the trucks following several requests. At the time only one truck was permitted to park in the downtown area of the village, in the parking lot of Speedy Mart at the intersection of Main and Market streets. A second truck was allowed in a parking lot on Route 212. Both trucks would be permitted this year as well; “grandfathered in,” said Murphy. No other trucks would be allowed in the village center. Other trucks would be relegated to the village outskirts. The law would allow only one food truck or cart on a lot of .5 acre or less; no more than two food trucks or carts on lots between .5 acre and one acre; and no more than three trucks or carts on lots of more than one acre. They would not be allowed within 100 feet from the main entrance to any restaurant or 50 feet from another permitted truck/cart.

A permit would be required, which would cost $250 per year. Operating without a permit would be punished by a $1,000 fine. Hours of operation are limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; if within 150 feet of a dwelling, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A public hearing on the measure will be held at the May 6 meeting at 5 p.m. at Village Hall, 43 Partition St.

There are 7 comments

  1. Derek

    Protectionism at its finest.

    Instead of asking Saugerties restaurants to step up their game, so that residents and tourists could have great restaurants and great food trucks competing for customers with better food and lower prices, Saugerties goes the opposite way of most every other “hip” tourist town and makes it extremely difficult for food trucks to do business there…

    Maybe it’s time to start trying to get “non-grey-haired” folks running the show.

  2. Jeffrey

    Well put Derek, I agree. Limiting the attraction of people to this town by limiting business’ isn’t going to help the very limited economy here. It pushes people away from here and sends them to spend their money where there are more choices. Sales tax counts too and sending people to other nearby towns for selection and quality doesn’t help the Saugerties economy or attraction of people to spend money at any store, restaurant, or cart. Saugerties feels way too much like a retirement home kind of town and it would be great to see people developing this community in ways that preserve it but also allow for good things that attract business and people. Perhaps preserving the character of Saugerties, and keeping property taxes flowing, will take attracting people to come here and not to leave to find opportunity and fun things to do.

  3. Jeffrey

    “Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service and a lack of viable substitute.”

    Mayor William Murphy said. “We want to make sure there is no competition with village restaurants, because they pay property taxes and the trucks and carts don’t.”

    I’m not a lawyer but I am interpreting the restriction of competition as a way for the village to theoretically maximize its property taxes.

  4. Derek

    Jeffrey: Making the culture vibrant, with lots of food options, drives up property values across the board, instead of just the handful of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

    And the property owners of those lots pay taxes too. If they’re becoming “known” as food truck lots, then that increases the inherent value of those lots, and should result in a raised assessment for them, since they’re clearly revenue-generating.

  5. Bob Rountree

    There’s a public hearing on May 6. Show up and let your voice be heard. I think there’s a legitimate concern here for brick-and-mortar restaurants, but I also think accommodations can be made for all through zoning, village permits and, yes, property taxes.

  6. Bill Murphy

    First of all, I am not gray haired. 2nd of all if you really care about the Village, then get involved. You obviously missed the whole point of this, it is not to elminate food trucks but to ontrol them which by the way, we are the one of only communities to not have a law regulating them. The point of this a) Do you think it woould be fare that a hot dog vendor park in front of Dallas Hots, and sell hot dogs??? Or do you think it is fair for some one to park out in front of one of our Pizza places and sell slices??? The point of he law is to regualte them, so that they don’t just show up when they want and where they want, That would not be fair to our established resturants who “yes” do pay taxes. If you have more to say on this, please come to my public hearing on May 6th. I am a very open Mayor and very willing to listen. The reason this law was proposed is becasue last year I had over a dozen vendors who wanted to set up carts on our streets, and we had no law to regualte them. And you can bet your ASS if I let all of them go, you same people would have been comaplaining that they are running amuck in the Village and causing havoc…Hope to see you on the 6th.

    Mayor Bill Murphy

  7. Bill Murphy

    BTW: Forgive my spelling…no spell check on this site….Look forward to seeing both Derek and Jeffrey on the 6th. 5PM Village Hall

    Bob, Thanks for having an open mind, and getting the just of this…..

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