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Monday, January 9, 2012

Does RIOC Have Authority To Regulate NYC Licensed Mobile Food Trucks On Roosevelt Island? Outdoor Food Vendors, Community Space and Island House Privatization On Agenda For RIOC Directors Real Estate Committee Meeting January 11


You Tube Video of Daniella on Design - Gourmet Food Trucks

As reported in this previous post on Mobile Food Truck access to Roosevelt Island:
...The answer to the question previously posed whether RIOC believes it has the right to ban food trucks on Roosevelt Island public streets which have all appropriate licenses from NYC and can provide service to any other NYC neighborhood is yes, at least according to the Real Estate Committee. The Committee was unsure where that authority came from though RIOC's attorney believes that the RIOC NY State enabling legislation provides for that power. The attorney noted he would check to see if his impression is correct.

RIOC Real Estate Committee chair Howard Polivy hopes to have a Mobile Food Truck policy established by the January RIOC Board meeting.
The issue of Roosevelt Island Mobile Food Trucks, Street Vendors (there is a difference between the two), Community Space and Island House Privatization are on the Agenda for January 11 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Directors Real Estate Committee meeting. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
AGENDA
1. Discussion of Street Vending Licenses on Roosevelt Island;
2. Review of RIOC-Controlled Community Spaces;
3. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Review and Discuss the Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House.
More on Roosevelt Island Mobile Food Truck issue from previous post.

Not much is known publicly about the Island House privatization because these discussions are held in Executive Session meaning that that they are secret. More information on RIOC and NY State Executive Session policies from previous posts.

An audio web cast of the meeting will be available a few days after the meeting.

UPDATE 4:20 PM - A Reader using the name Not So Common Sense believes that RIOC does have the power to ban licensed NYC Mobile Food Trucks from Roosevelt Island commenting:
Yes they do, as the rioc legislature from 1988 allows rioc to put up signs as they seem fit for the purpose of flowing traffic on the island.

A easy way to not allow the vendors on the island is to simply put up signs of " no standing" everywhere. If its at a metered spot, it has to move every 2 hours, which is not always feasible for a food truck.

The traffic signs on roosevelt island do not have to be approved by nys dot for the purpose of putting them up. Legislature gave rioc that authority on their own. If you ever look closely at a sign on main street, it does not say nyc dot.

This is one way rioc can not allow vendors here. Either way, your screwed if they want them off island. 
I don't know why but the comment from Not So Common Sense was not on the Disqus commenting system. Please let me know if anyone is having trouble with writing comments to post.

12 comments :

not so common sense said...

Yes they do, as the rioc legislature from 1988 allows rioc to put up signs as they seem fit for the purpose of flowing traffic on the island.

A easy way to not allow the vendors on the island is to simply put up signs of " no standing" everywhere. If its at a metered spot, it has to move every 2 hours, which is not always feasible for a food truck.

The traffic signs on roosevelt island do not have to be approved by nys dot for the purpose of putting them up. Legislature gave rioc that authority on their own. If you ever look closely at a sign on main street, it does not say nyc dot.

This is one way rioc can not allow vendors here. Either way, your screwed if they want them off island.

Trevre Andrews said...

The real question is why would RIOC want to restrict food trucks/street vendors from operating on the island?  Its not like the current businesses are going to leave if a few more food vendors come on the island and RIOC gets the same ground lease from them regardless of how much money they make.  As a resident of the island to all the business owners on the island I would have a lot more respect/disposable income for you if you competed on the dinner plate rather than in the back channels of RIOC by asking for regulation. Some days I just want a lobster roll, other days I love the food at the island restaurants, but I am not going to eat less at local restaurants because of a few food trucks.  This is protectionism and it doesn't help the development of anything.  Like other commentators why don't you prevent delivery men from coming on the island while you are at it.  RIOC could use a healthy dose of discretion on this issue and there wouldn't even be a discussion but yet again they seem to lack that capability.  The no-bike parking signs are still up btw. 

-Your least impressed Resident.  Trevre. 

YetAnotherRIer said...

Did you listen in to the last committee meeting about these food trucks? It seems the RIOC board does not trust in the permits given out by the city and needs to add another layer of protection. It's ridiculous. I think it is even more ridiculous that they want to put out an RFP for food truck vendors and make them sit at pre-defined spots. I kind of like the idea about the latter but an RFP? Seriously?

Westviewer said...

RIOC, like many of the residents of this island, like to pretend we don't live in New York City.  This self-delusion is at the root of many of the island's problems.  

Judith Berdy said...

If the City approves a food truck, that is enough. RIOC does not inspect restaurants and issue permits for them so they should stay out of the food truck business.  After years of our boring selection of dining spots, I would be glad to get a good lobster roll or other things. 

I am hungry for variety and change.

YetAnotherRIer said...

It's scary how natural this is to the board members. The first things they could think about how to implement an approval process were a) how to protect us from the "dangers" of "bad" food trucks and b) to create a request for proposal. Two things that are counter-intuitive for "normal" new Yorkers when it comes to food trucks. Imagine a hot dog stand at the tram... the RIOC will go insane. But then, one may wonder how one of these Mr Softee knock-offs got a permit. That stuff is nasty.

Frank Farance said...

[My letter to WIRE]

RIOC Should Not Attempt To Regulate Mobile Food Vendors

In early December, Luke's Lobster mobile food vendor was selling lobster rolls to the delight of residents, but was soon shooed away by Public Safety, as reported by the Roosevelt Islander blog.  There was much uproar from the residents.  At the December 23 RIOC Real Estate Committee, RIOC believes (1) that it has an interest in regulating such activity, and (2) so far, believes it has the authority to do so.

The main issue: When a service is properly licensed by the City to operate on public streets, does RIOC have the authority to require additional permits to operate on public streets on Roosevelt Island?  (Note: In the 1980's RIOC asked for Main Street to be a dedicated, public street so PSD could issue parking tickets.)  It was clear from the RIOC meeting that they don't consider their actions to be over-regulating.  Such a permit process would discourage trucks trying out a new market here.  RIOC's General Counsel missed the point: asking Hudson-Related for "expert" advice is inappropriate because of their conflict-of-interest with their storefront Master Lease -- of course, they (H-R) will find reasons to not have food trucks.

By RIOC's reasoning, RIOC would also have the right to regulate which car service can come to the Island, which pizza delivery service you can use, and which carting service restaurants can use.  An Article 78 challenge against RIOC might be effective because it would settle for once the limits on what RIOC can regulate.  In fact, City industries, such as New York's carting industry, might have an interest in supporting such litigation against RIOC because it would level the playing field and eliminate arbitrary/capricious administration. (How ironic!)

Another approach is for the mobile food vendors to stand at fire hydrants -- according to DMV, this is permitted when "a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to move it in an emergency" -- and challenge PSD's actions in court.

The simplest approach is for RIOC to not attempt to regulate this needed service and to provide designated Mobile Food Vendor parking spots in each of the four housing development areas, and allow Roosevelt Island residents to have the same food vendors the rest of the City enjoys.

Frank Farance
RIRA Planning Committee Chair

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer says "It's scary how natural this is to the board members".  Yes, I agree strongly.  I was really surprised how, given the option, they felt compelled to regulate.  I wouldn't call myself a libertarian or anti-regulatory, but the discussion in the RIOC meeting was way over the top.  There was no self-reflection upon: How much does RIOC really need to control? And why?

CheshireKitty said...

RIOC is taking the micromanagement of RI to a new, ridiculous level in attempting to regulate food trucks that are already regulated by the City of NY.  

There are few random/surprising things to discover on RI as it is; why not let food trucks come here if they wish, and if they feel it's worth it; and let them park at any of the main development sites, or transportation hubs, if practicable/safe.  

Wouldn't it be great to accidentally stumble upon anything new/different on RI - an exciting new taste experience?  Then RI would be magical, or at least have a little bit of the magic of NYC.  

But RIOC doesn't see things that way - it has to take the joy out of the island at every opportunity and make it conform to its "vision" of a thoroughly planned, and unfortunately thoroughly boring, community.   

not so common said...

Roosevelt Island is NOT a public street. A mobile food vendor cannot set up shop at a port authority or mta facility, and that is because this is an authority made to make the state money, and technically have a very broad range of capabilities as prescribed by law.

All they have to do is put up a sign "no mobile food vendors" up and its done.

Is it right, no. I dont hope for tgat to happen but in reality rioc can do whatever they wish on this island( within reason).

Cars being allowed on the island is a courtesy in itself.

residential said...

If NYC laws don't apply then no vendor should charge NYC sales tax nor should any resident have to pay NYC income tax!

Vincent said...

I believe the Battery Park City Authority is a New York State public benefit corporation (similar to RIOC) that is responsible for managing, developing and maintaining the real estate in lower Manhattan. I wonder if Battery Park City residents face the same or similar challenges that we do on Roosevelt Island regarding real estate, leases, permits, etc. In reference to this topic, does the Battery Park City Authority require special permits (above and beyond those issued by NYC) to allow food trucks down in Battery Park City?