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Lancaster Village Board adopts food truck ordinance

Food trucks have not made their way into the Village of Lancaster, but when they do, the village says it’s ready.

“We see Larkinville and what’s happening in the city could now be coming into Lancaster, which is good,” Village Attorney Arthur A. Herdzik said Monday. “But restaurants here pay taxes. We need to make it a level playing field.”

Herdzik crafted a food truck ordinance, with input from Deputy Mayor Kenneth L. O’Brien III, that the board adopted Monday.

What triggered the ordinance was a request by a waffle-maker to participate in last year’s village Christmasville. The vendor didn’t end up running his food truck at that event.

However, it caught village officials a bit off-guard, prompting them to think of putting something formal in the Village Code.

“We now have a policy on the books, and that’s very important to me,” Trustee Dawn M. Robinson said.

An important distinction is that the ordinance applies to food trucks, even hot dog carts, on a daily basis throughout the village. It does not apply to food trucks during special village-sponsored events, such as the June car show, July 4 festivities or the Taste of Lancaster.

“With this new craze with food trucks, it is good to have something on the books, because it can take away from the bricks and mortar existing restaurants,” said Village Special Events Coordinator Dawn C. Gaczewski.

Despite concerns, Gaczewski said, the village welcomes the food trucks, but it needed a policy.

For daily purposes, food truck operators are now required to apply for a permit from the village that would expire April 1 of each year.

The initial permit and renewals would require Village Board approval and cost $250. The village law stipulates that the food trucks cannot be within 100 feet of an existing eating establishment.

Violations include a $250 fine for the initial offense within 12 months, and $1,000 for every subsequent offense within that same year.

But mobile food vendors who want to participate in one of the many village-sponsored events would need to register two weeks in advance. The fee could range between $185 to $325.