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Williamsville mulls food truck regulations

Williamsville trustees Monday received some food for thought on a proposed law to regulate food trucks in the village.

Mayor Brian J. Kulpa told a packed room of about 50 people attending a public hearing on the proposal that, while the board of trustees has not come to any consensus on how to regulate the restaurants on wheels, their overriding concern is the safety of the vehicles.

“We understand our responsibilities in terms of safety,” Kulpa said. “We’re really here to listen tonight. We are not moving any actions.”

Tom Pilat of Shabby Chic Boutique was one of the first speakers at the hearing and sought to clear up what he called misstatements made on social media about the Williamsville Business Association’s position on food trucks in the village.

“We do not want food trucks banned from the village,” said Pilat, who is on the board of directors of the association. “I motioned for a vote at our board meeting simply to give the Village Board a recommendation for the safe operation of food trucks in the village.”

He said the association’s position is that food trucks should be allowed to operate in the village, but not on public streets.

“Safety is a major issue, especially on Main Street, with fast-moving, heavy traffic and safe crossings that are widespread. Any statements to the contrary are just political fodder supporting one’s own agenda and personal opinion,” Pilat said.

He said the parking lots at Amherst Town Hall and Glenn Falls Park are more appropriate venues for food trucks, the operators of which, he said, should not be charged a fee to operate on private property.

Paul Trippi, director of operations at Gourmet Hotdogs, which operates two food trucks, noted that over the past four years, Buffalo and the Town of Amherst have already successfully created some of the most progressive legislation regulating food trucks in the country. Some aspects of the village’s proposal, he said undermine much of that progress.

The Village Board took no action on the proposal Monday and agreed to keep the hearing open for its next meeting.