Albany to start second food truck pilot program in May

Slidin Dirty food truckQuick update on the city of Albany's plans for food trucks: The city's aiming to release the rules for this year's season on April 15, with permits starting May 1.

City officials collected some feedback on last year's pilot program at a public meeting Monday evening at city hall. Kate Lawrence, a planner with the city, described the upcoming season as a continuation of last year's trial program. She projected that the new rules wouldn't include any drastic changes from last year.

Among the issues that surfaced during public comments at Monday's meeting: The possibility of expanding the zones where food trucks would be allowed, increasing the hours the trucks could operate (there was interest being open later), and concerns about the size of permit fees.

And, of course, there's the issue of how food trucks and fixed-location restaurants can get along. Lawrence told us the city is hoping to balance the needs of both types of businesses so that it can "expand options and not step on anyone's toes."

Last year's pilot program ran from August through October and allowed trucks to operate in commercial zones, though multiple stretches of streets were off limits. (The pilot program was separate from the permitting for trucks outside West Capitol Park.) If a proposed location was within 150 feet of an existing food establishment, applicants were required to include a letter of support from that establishment. A letter was also required if the site was in a business improvement district. The range of possible operating times was 11 am-11 pm. And permits were $200.

The pilot program had slots for five trucks last year. Lawrence said only three of the slots ended being claimed by trucks. She said the city is expecting more interest this year.

Food trucks have been a prominent food trend in many cities around the country over the last decade. But the Capital Region hasn't been the easiest place to operate one of the trucks, in part because there so many different municipalities, each with their own rules. Even so, food truck events around the region have been very popular.

"It's refreshing to see a city that's actually having a conversation about it," Slidin' Dirty owner Tim Taney said to us after the meeting. "Why can't Albany be a food truck destination?"

If you're interested in offering a comment about the city's rules for food trucks, you can email Kate Lawrence: klawrence |at| albanyny |dot| gov.

Comments

Do any of these excited food truck foodies have any concern about trucks sitting idle, spewing out exhaust constantly? If a restaurant owner decided to power his establishment with a diesel generator, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't go over well. But food trucks are neat, I guess.

@Blergh:
what's not to like about a bit of diesel or kerosene in the air, together with food cooked with minimal, if any, hygiene standards, topped with a soda bottle pulled from a bucket where everyone has put their unwashed hands, enjoyed at the edge of a street with the heaviest traffic in Albany? But, of course, if in a striclty regulated restaurant the waiter forgets to pour more free water in your glass, all hell breaks loose (saw that just yesterday...haha). We all have choices, and being "cool" seems to be trend, and dirty food trucks are cool.

"Why can't Albany be a food truck destination?"

Why limit it to food? Why not clothing stores? Shoe stores? Pharmacies? Florists? Wine bars? Churches? Dollar stores? Mechanics? Oil change stations? Car washes? Grocery stores? Why can't we just line up the entire city's sidewalks with trucks? Now, that would be cool and hip!

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