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Remove road blocks for local food trucks

Sometimes, you just want Lloyd’s tacos, or some R&R barbecued goodness. In a foodie Mecca like Buffalo, it should be easy to find them dished out of their respective food trucks during a weekday lunch break or on a Saturday night. Unfortunately, local government has made it difficult for food trucks to provide us their tasty items by piling on fees needed to operate these mobile eateries. The News reported that Lloyd’s paid more than $6,000 in fees in 2012. Of that total, $1,000 went toward a permit to simply operate the truck. Other amounts went toward Lloyd’s being operational during peak times and in the best locations, like downtown.

Other local restaurant owners would like to see even stricter regulations, presumably out of fear of competition. These fears are unfounded, as food trucks tend to serve a different market. Thankfully, the Common Council rejected imposing more onerous regulations. However, those already in place need reworking. Unless the ultimate plan is to drive out these businesses (no pun intended), the current structure is not sustainable. It’s already been a significant contributing factor for some owners, like The Cheesy Chick, deciding to leave the business altogether.

Given the state of the local job market, government should encourage local entrepreneurial attempts like these. Fees and unnecessary restrictions are stifling creative outlets for those who want to make new food offerings, which would also add to our city’s cultural offerings. Because Buffalo prides itself on diversity of its citizens, and particularly on its famous foods, expanding food truck operations and decreasing the bureaucratic red tape owners face should be right up its alley. Instead of putting up roadblocks, let’s facilitate their startups and keep patronizing these local businesses.

Nicole K. Intschert

Buffalo