Proposed Law Could Help Ithaca Food Truck Expansion

Proposed Law Could Help Ithaca Food Truck Expansion

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Ithaca mapITHACA, NY - A new policy proposed by the City of Ithaca that would regulate when and where food trucks could operate has raised concern among restaurant owners and other members of the community.

The proposed policy sets a minimum distance between the location of food trucks and traditional “brick-and-mortar” restaurants, according to the draft of the policy. This distance, which was initially set at 200 feet, has been changed to 100 feet and is still apt to change as a subcommittee continues to work on the proposal.

The proposed policy also requires food truck owners to pay a permit application fee of $100 in addition to permit fees, depending on where and when the food trucks operate. According to the draft, food trucks in residential areas will not be allowed to operate beyond lunch and dinner hours and are not allowed to sell food from 2:00 to 6:00 a.m.

As the city offers new curbside locations for food trucks to park, some restaurant owners are concerned with potential competition from food trucks, which face lower overhead costs and fees.

“I have a little bit of concern in Collegetown, where [our business] has a couple of restaurants that have pretty brisk hours during which food trucks are proposed to be open,” said Frost Travis, president Travis Hyde Properties. “But I think if the minimum distance between food trucks and restaurants is maintained, it will be fair, and it will create some competition.”

While restaurants pay rent or property taxes, hire staff, and have larger start-up costs, they also have bigger kitchens and larger menus, according to J.P. Vico, owner of Circus Truck.

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