Food Truck Permits in Cold Spring Village: Get the FAQs

Photo by  Nan Palmero  used by  license.

Photo by Nan Palmero used by license.

During the weekend of July 20–21, 2019, a food truck was found parked without a permit in the lot next to Mayor’s Park. The operator was told that she needed a permit to do business there. She then submitted an application for a permit, along with the proper health department and insurance documents. After reviewing the application at a meeting on July 23, the Cold Spring Board of Trustees approved a retroactive permit for July 20–21 and another permit for July 27–28, specifying fees of $50 each weekend, or $25 a day. (The vendor did not show up at Mayor’s Park on July 27, reporting mechanical problems with the truck.)

Several local business owners have approached the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce with concerns and questions about food trucks and the permit-granting process. Some are worried that pop-up vendors may take vital weekend business away from the brick-and-mortar food establishments, that the permit was issued unfairly, or that local business owners should have first priority for such permits. Others have expressed support for food trucks, arguing that a greater diversity of dining choices would only make Cold Spring more attractive to locals and visitors, especially during the high season, when there are long lines at restaurants.

We asked Lynn Miller, a village trustee, for the board’s perspective. She commented, “Not harming the brick-and-mortar stores is paramount, but also managing the visitor traffic needs to be addressed.” She explained that by her rough count the village eating establishments offer slightly fewer than 300 seats. On peak weekends (for instance, when Seastreak unloads 400–1000 visitors), the restaurants cannot meet the demand, and some visitors are turned away.

We asked Lynn to provide the Chamber with facts about how the village grants the permits. 

Q: Who is eligible for food truck permits?

A: Anyone with a permanent or temporary mobile food permit from the Putnam County health department can apply for a temporary permit to park and do business in the permit-specified location in Cold Spring.

Q: On what grounds would applicants be rejected?

A: If they submit an incomplete application, if they do not have the proper insurance or a mobile food truck permit issued by the Putnam County health department, if they request a permit for West Street, or if they request a location that negatively impacts foot or car traffic or conditions near residents’ homes, applicants will be automatically turned down.

Q: How much does a food truck permit cost, and how long does a permit allow a food truck to stay at a location? 

A: Permits currently cost $25/day or $100/month. The village board will most likely reconsider and adjust those prices to meet market rates in the future. Permits are only given for short periods and never exceed a month.

Q: Where can food trucks with permits park and sell food in the village? Are there restricted areas?

A: West Street is currently the only place in the village where the village code explicitly forbids the permitting of food trucks or free-standing food vendors, but the village board will not give permits for a vehicle, cart, or stand on any village street location were they feel it would negatively impact the street, car, or foot traffic flow, or cause issues near residents’ homes. At this time, the village board would be most open to giving permits to vendors at the following locations: Dockside Park, the parking area of Mayor’s Park, or along Kemble Avenue lining Marathon Battery field leading down to the West Point Foundry Preserve.

Q: Who is responsible for managing the refuse and litter produced by food truck customers?

A: Permits require the food truck owners to provide waste receptacles for their customers’ refuse, to clean up around the truck at the end of the day, and to remove the waste at the end of the day. This means not dumping the waste into village public garbage cans but actually taking the trash away and responsibly disposing of it. 

Q: Is there a limit on how many food truck permits the village board will give out?

A: Up to this point, viable applications have been rare. Therefore, the village trustees do not currently have any laws in place that would limit the number of food trucks in the village. However, they are not looking to crowd the streets with food trucks or create a carnival-like environment on village streets or in the local parks. They are taking it slowly to keep things in balance for businesses, residents, and visitor management. The recent weekend-long permits are a test to see how it goes. The village will continue to take applicants on a case-by-case basis until there is a better sense of what permitting food trucks to operate will lead to. If the demand gets higher than the trustees feel is appropriate for the village, then they may have to revise the laws to set limits. For now, and provided food truck permits go smoothly, and the addition of these businesses to our streets does not create a burden on trash management, hurt local businesses, or disturb the peace and comfort of local residents, we may be able to consider food trucks as a viable addition to the Village offerings.

If your business is interested in applying for a food truck permit in the village of Cold Spring, you will need to submit the following:

  1. A mobile food truck permit issued by the Putnam County Department of Health.

  2. Proof of appropriate insurance for a food truck business.

  3. A completed application to the village board. The more detailed and specific, the better.

Do you have thoughts, ideas, or opinions to share with the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce? Please comment on this story in the comments section at our Facebook page @explorecoldspringny

Eliza Starbuck