NYS Appellate Court Upholds Food Trucks Ban

(photo: DNAinfo)

The case of Paty’s Tacos, who sued NYC for the right to sell food from a metered parking spot and lost, was upheld yesterday by the NYS Appellate Court.  That means NYC food trucks are still operating on the outskirts of the law.

Click through for the actual decision and our comments on what this means for NYC food trucks.

The text of the actual decision: “In this action, plaintiff food truck vendor seeks declaratory and other relief in connection with defendants’ enforcement against her of 34 RCNY 4-08(h)(8) which provides that “[n]o peddler, vendor, hawker or huckster shall park a vehicle at a metered parking space for purposes of displaying, selling, storing or offering merchandise for sale from the vehicle.” Plaintiff concedes that the term “merchandise” may include food but maintains that the term, as used in the regulation, does not apply to food. While certain city regulations, such as those relating to licensing, distinguish between “food vendors” (see Admin. Code § 17-306 et seq.) and “general vendors” (see Admin. Code § 20-452 et seq.), there is no reason for the Department of Transportation, in enacting its parking regulations, to distinguish between different classes of vendor.

Contrary to plaintiff’s assertion, the regulation of metered parking is within the scope of the Department of Transportation’s authority (see NY City Charter § 2093). Unlike in Good Humor Corp. v City of New York (290 NY 312 [1943]), upon which plaintiff relies, the regulation at issue here does not prohibit all street vending, it merely regulates the ability to vend from metered parking spaces.

We have considered plaintiff’s remaining arguments and find them unavailing.”

While a lawsuit was an interesting way to approach the problem, we always expected the issue of food trucks in NYC to be settled through a legislative or political solution rather than a legal one.

It’s a good thing two new food truck lots have opened, but unless you work near one, they are not easy to get to.  There are more weekend event and festivals than ever before, but that doesn’t help us for lunch during the week.

Hopefully, the NYC Food Truck Association was lead the charge in crafting a legislative or political solution to this issue.  Now more than ever, the food truck community needs to work together.

We spoke with Sean Basinski, head of the Street Vendor Project, who helped Paty’s Tacos with this lawsuit.  Sean said: “Vendors are an asset to New York. We hope that the Bloomberg administration, instead of fighting us in court, will sit down with all parties and find a way to make space for food trucks in our city.”  We couldn’t agree more!

Thanks to @MalcolmBlogger for the tip.