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State decides food trucks do not need additional fire safety equipment

in Local Business 262 views

WATERTOWN — The state has reversed an earlier decision that required food trucks to install expensive fire safety equipment to operate at farmers markets and fairs.

City code enforcement supervisor Dana Aikins was notified by a New York Department of State official on Friday that it was revising its interpretation on existing food trucks needing to install new safety systems.

In May, the city code enforcement office conveyed to Douglas Lamont, who operates a food truck at the Watertown farmers market, that he would have to install fire safety equipment in the truck he and his wife have run for years.

But with the state’s revised interpretation, Mr. Lamont will not have to do that, Mr. Aikins said.

“The system requires (food trucks) to be maintained and in good working order,” he said. “It does not require adding a new safety system.”

Mr. Aikins plans to notify Mr. Lamont on Tuesday that the state has reversed its decision.

The state had changed its code pertaining to food trucks in 2020, but now is saying existing trucks are “grandfathered” and won’t need to make additional changes.

On Saturday, Mr. Lamont said he was not aware of the change until he was told by a reporter that his truck would no longer need the fire safety equipment.

He declined to comment about the state’s reversal, except to say “I’m going to wait to hear from city codes on Tuesday.”

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Farmers market food trucks under new fire code scrutiny

in Uncategorized 299 views

WATERTOWN — Douglas LaMont was surprised when a city code enforcement officer showed up on the first day of the Watertown farmers market two weeks ago to conduct a safety inspection of his food truck.

He and his wife, Rhonda B., have never had to go through a city code enforcement inspection before for their food truck in all the years they’ve come to the Greater Watertown-North Country Farm & Craft Market.

He didn’t know why the code enforcement official showed up out of the blue and didn’t understand why they had to have one, although the inspection focused on fire safety.

At first, Mr. LaMont thought it was a scam and kicked the enforcement officer out of the food truck.

“He was causing a safety concern,” Mr. LaMont said. “He came when we were real busy. He could trip and fall and cause a fire.”

Kayla S. Perry, president of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, said she didn’t know about the safety inspections of food trucks until she received an email from code enforcement two weeks before the farmers market opened on May 25.

The chamber hosts the Wednesday farmers market, which runs through Oct. 5.

It was the first time that food trucks have had to be inspected at the farmers market, she said, adding that she forwarded the email to the food truck vendors.

But not all municipalities are doing the inspections, she said.

Mr. LaMont said he never saw the email until he found it in his junk mail folder.

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Food Truck Frenzy held Sunday in Watertown

in Local Business 601 views

Thousands of foodies invaded Watertown for a special community event called Food Truck Frenzy.

Nearly a dozen different food trucks parked at the city’s fairgrounds Sunday to offer a little bit of something for everyone.

People lined up to taste everything from barbecue and pizza to tacos, waffles and lobster rolls, as well as a number of desserts and ice cream treats.

When organizers began to plan the event, they hoped people would enjoy it. But seeing just how many people showed up, left them almost speechless.

“It’s better than we expected,” said Steve Haggerty of City Dawgz of NNY. “We expected a lot of people, but everybody is showing up. It’s huge.”

The event also featured a craft show with various vendors and games for the kids.

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