“Food trucks are cool things,” said Marc Propper at the May 6 Village Board public hearing on a law designed to regulate them.
Propper brings a unique perspective to the food truck issue, owning two village restaurants, Miss Lucy’s Kitchen and ‘Cue, both on Partition Street, and as the owner of a food truck that sells BBQ food. The village is considering a law limiting their number in the village center to two in order to protect existing restaurants.
Propper agreed with previous statements by the mayor saying the trucks shouldn’t be allowed to park in front of restaurants. But the trucks can serve a valuable purpose, he said, by offering specialty foods and items not found in any stores or restaurants.
“Food trucks are also hip,” Propper said, “and can bring international foods and attention to the village,” noting that just up river in Hudson there is a special area set aside for food trucks and the tourists and local merchants love it.
“We want to welcome food trucks to the village,” Murphy said, “we just don’t want them to run amuck. Because the brick and mortar restaurants are the backbone of the village.”
“And we’re not anti-business,” said trustee Vincent Buono, “we just want to do this right.”
Propper said food trucks are becoming more popular lately, and cited the food truck festival held at the DIY crafts center Fiber Flame on Route 212. (The publishing industry has caught on, too — the book “Running a Food Truck for Dummies” has been displayed prominently at Barnes & Noble in Ulster.)
“They are also a good way for the village to make some money through fees,” Propper added.
Permits are $250 for the year, although the board is considering a one-day fee for special events. Anyone operating without a permit is subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
The law would limit trucks in the village business district to the two locations they were set up last year: one at the Speedy Mart on Main St. and another on Ulster Ave. Others would have to be set up on village outskirts.
The law also establishes the hours of operation for the vehicles. Because many local restaurants close at 10 p.m., while the bars stay open far longer, the board decided to allow the trucks to stay open until midnight on weekends to serve the bar crowd.
At the end of the May 6 public hearing, trustees voted to leave the hearing open while they “tweak” the law to include longer hours of operation for weekends, and determine a one-day use fee. The hearing will continue at the board’s May 20 meeting at 6:45 p.m.