Southampton rejects bill to let farm stands host food trucks

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A bill that would have allowed some Southampton farm stands to host food trucks has been rejected by the town board.

Some local farmers say the food trucks could have invigorated their businesses and attracted new customers.

The measure failed in a 3-2 vote.

"The days of selling melons on the side of the road with your truck are gone. We can't survive any longer like that," says David Falkowski, from Open Minded Organics.

News 12 is told the proposed legislation would have limited the time food trucks were able to operate and what food was allowed to be served. There were also stipulations regarding how long a farm stand needed to be in operation before they could operate a food truck.

Falkowski says he believes the measure proposed was flawed for several reasons, including that it limited hours of operation from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, and it required 80 percent of the food to be locally sourced.

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who was against the measure, said he felt food trucks and farm stands were not a good match, citing concerns about traffic and food odors in residential areas.

"The town has been expanding the locations where food trucks can operate. We like food trucks in general, but typically you would not expect to see a food truck at a farm stand. If we make an exception for a few farm stands, we may have to make it for all of them and for other businesses looking to increase sales by adding a food service component," the Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said in a statement. "Many of these farm stands are in residential areas where traffic and the smells associated with food preparation could impact residents.  We also do not want to create unfair competition for our local restaurants who pay property taxes and struggle to survive in an area with a short business season.  Although well intended, there were too many unanswered questions with this legislation. We are happy to revisit the issue to see if we can find a way to support our farmers without compromising our rural character or quality-of-life. In fact, several farmers contacted me to express their opposition to the food trucks at farm stands legislation."

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