Fredonia board approves short-term food truck licenses

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford The Fredonia Board of Trustees at Monday’s meeting. From left: Trustee Douglas Essek, Village Attorney Daniel Gard, Mayor Athanasia Landis and Trustees James Lynden, Kara Christina and Michael Barris.

Food trucks that want to set up shop in Fredonia will now have an option for a short-term license.

The village Board of Trustees voted 3-1 on Monday to alter the food truck code it passed just last year. Food trucks can now apply for a $50 permit that will let them set up shop for one day, at one event.

The fee for a one-year permit is $500. The figure of $500 was not in the original law, but was written into Monday’s resolution.

The resolution also changed the original application fee law to make clear that permanent, “brick-and-mortar” restaurants in the village won’t have to pay anything if they wish to set up food trucks.

Mayor Athanasia Landis said at Monday’s meeting that village officials looked at what other communities were doing with their food truck fees. “We did not reinvent any kind of wheel here,” she said.

Landis said she was leaving the issue of background checks for food truck employees to the board. Officials from Festival Fredonia are on record against the requirement, seeing it as a discouragement to prospective vendors. Backers of the checks feel it is a necessary security measure against troublemakers from outside the area that work for the trucks.

The mayor refused to take a stand, saying she understood both sides of the argument.

“I believe the food trucks they are trying to get here are established businesses at other events in Western New York,” commented Trustee Kara Christina.

Trustee Michael Barris, the “no” vote on Monday, said in May during board conversations about the measure that he feels the issues were thoroughly discussed when the law was originally passed in June 2018. At the time, the law came under heavy criticism from former village officials Sam Drayo and Frank Pagano for its alleged lack of details and legally questionable language.

Trustees Christina, Doug Essek and James Lynden voted “yes” to Monday’s amendment. Trustee Roger Britz was absent for the third straight board meeting.