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DISABLED VETERANS GET PREFERENCE IN NEW STADIUM VENDING POLICY

Law and order will appear with a vengeance Sept. 20 -- the Buffalo Bills' first regular-season home game with the St. Louis Rams -- for independent vendors on Bills' stadium grounds and Abbott Road.

The only vendors on Abbott Road will be disabled veterans limited to hawking their wares from carts that they can push themselves. They will operate under state law, but also will have to obtain various permits to prove their right to be on the state highway.

"Disabled veterans are going to have to have insurance, sales tax certificates and disabled veterans vending permits," said Public Works Commissioner John C. Loffredo. "If they want to serve food, they are going to have to have county Health Department food service permits."

"From being not regulated to being regulated, a lot of paperwork between the two," he said.

With proper permits, honorably discharged veterans -- disabled while in the service -- will also have first shot at 30 booths that the Buffalo Bills will provide for freelance vendors on the stadium grounds. Overseas or war veterans or their surviving spouses will have second chance. The general public will get any remaining booths.

Sept. 14 is the deadline for filing applications with Loffredo's office. The drawing will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 16. Applicants must supply proof of insurance and a state sales tax certificate.

Future lotteries will be held yearly at an earlier date.

First Deputy County Attorney Alan Gerstman is still refining regulations to carry out the new county law.

"It is a right given to disabled veterans after the Civil War to sell on public streets from pushcarts," said Gerstman. "The pushcart will have to be something the veteran himself can push."

The Erie County sheriff's department will monitor the Abbott Road vending.

Loffredo said that the Buffalo Bills will construct permanent stalls for private vendors, seven on each side of Community Drive and 16 adjacent to the old practice field in the area where, if the county obtains a soon-to-be-abandoned rail line, a game-day train station will be built.

"The interesting thing about that is if the railroad station ever goes through, the first thing people will see once they cross the Smokes Creek Bridge will be the vending stations," said Loffredo. "The Bills are constructing the vendor stalls. They have the design almost complete. They are pretty simple straight forward cubicles with a roof opening, back wall and counter. Each cubicle will be 11 feet by 11 feet."

Would-be vendors entering the lottery will list their first, second and third choices of location among the 30 rent-free stalls. Luck of the draw will determine placement.

"We will have three containers for the lottery," said Loffredo. "The first will be for disabled veterans, the second will be for war or overseas veterans or their surviving spouses, and the third for the general public."

"To get in vets pools, you also have to be a resident of Erie County for at least six months," said Loffredo.

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