Butler to Allow Limited Amount of Mobile Vendors

Board of Health will introduce code amendment at its next meeting.

Mobile vendors like hot dog and ice cream trucks will remain—on a limited basis—on Butler streets.

After a heated audience urged the  on Wednesday night to reconsider in the borough, the board agreed to an amended ordinance that will limit the food vendors to five.

The ordinance will be introduced at the board's April 25 meeting.

The issue drew interest mostly from a mobile hot dog stand parked outside on Main Street. Tom Frank, the owner of the business and a native, said he obtained all the proper permitting for his business and that he saw the board's actions as personally against him. Borough Clerk Mary O'Keefe confirmed that Frank did apply for and receive the permit in the proper manner.

Tara Yodice, a Butler resident, read aloud a police report that was taken after visited Tommy's Franks to check on his credentials. According to the report Yodice read, police responded after Butler Mayor Bob Alviene allegedly expressed concern that Frank was operating the business without proper permits. 

Alviene's wife, Sandra, who serves as the Board of Health's president, said she brought the issue before the board and that the reasoning behind it included . Residents in attendance at the meeting seemed to disagree with the president's comments that Butler's appearance has improved in the past several years.

"I have been in Butler 63 years and it does look much better," she said.

Alviene noted other reasons the board took the amendment under consideration, including two-hour parking limits downtown and competing businesses with existing storefronts already selling hot dogs, of which she said there are five downtown. She asked Frank directly why he chose to have his business in Butler.

"Butler is probably one of the only towns that has a Main Street," he said. 

But resident Ken Montanye said Butler's Main Street is not one residents and business owners should be proud of and said the street is in "deplorable, despicable condition" due to the number of vacancies.

"For any one to say that you're proud of Butler? You've got to be kidding me," he said.

Montanye, and several other residents in attendance, said that it was unfair that Alviene was able to vote on the issue because of her husband's mayoral position and called for her to recuse herself from voting on the issue. Alviene said she was being personally attacked and had the right to vote on the topic.

The special meeting needed to be held for the Board of Health to vote again on the amendment because their initial vote was not solidified in writing, O'Keefe said. Unlike most government meetings, the board engaged in dialogue back and forth with the residents who were concerned about the issue. 

While most who spoke were concerned about Tommy's Franks, others expressed concern over the borough not allowing ice cream trucks and said they felt the residents deserved to have them and that children enjoy the ice cream vendors.

Eighteen-year-old Amy Verdonik, the daughter of Councilman Ray Verdonik and a senior, spoke in favor of Tommy's Franks and described a recent day when her and her father got a hot dog and walked to Butler Park to sit on a bench and enjoy the meal.

"I've never seen a hot dog truck around town and when I saw one the other day, I was ecstatic," she said.

While the board was in closed session, Verdonik said she was telling her friends from high school about the issue and that they were all upset that the hot dog vendor would not be allowed to do business in Butler if the amendment went through.

"This just angers me," she said.

Verdonik said the hot dog stand and ice cream trucks are all part of "childhood memories" that she and her friends would like to hold on to once they leave the borough for college.

"I want to be able to come back here and know it's the same place I left," she said.

Amkit Kakkad, owner of Butler Dollar & Party, said Tommy's Franks has actually helped his business, as the people who frequent the hot dog stand often stop in his store for a beverage or sweet treat after.

"I'm getting more traffic," he said. "After lunch, people come in to buy a Snapple."

More important than the items patrons are purchasing, Kakkad said the hot dog stand has brought awareness to downtown Butler.

"It's bringing more awareness, more people to Main Street that wouldn't have come," he said.

After the meeting, Frank said he is pleased that the board has reconsidered the amendment, but that he wants to make sure he is included in the five allowed licenses in the borough.

Bob April 12, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Alviene said she felt she was being personally attacked and had the right to vote on the topic.Gee I wonder how Tommy feels. Getting wacked by both the mayor and his wife.
Bobby L April 12, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I don't understand how the President of the Board of Health had to go to her husband to see if Frank had filed for and received the proper permits. Doesn't she have access to the records such as applications because she is the President? I agree with some others that feel the part of Main St. across from the old Rubber Factory is an eye sore. We should be working on a plan to restore this part of Main St. to make it look appealing like we did with the old PQ site. Maybe just putting up a facade (as they seem to be doing all up and down Rt 23) on the old decaying buildings in this part of Main Street. Maybe then we can attract more business and people from out of town to spend money in Butler. Seems Pompton Lakes is starting to realize this after they made some agressive changes to their Main St.
Ketan R. Kakkad April 12, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Ketan R. Kakkad I think a train station, for commuters to go to NYC, should be built immediately in Butler in place of Butler Museum and Butler Museum should be relocated some place else. This will not only revive Butler Main Street but also perfect timing for overall economic development of Butler and surrounding towns. In such troubled economic times, even NJ State & Federal Government, both will be interested in putting up & starting the commuter train station project in Butler because all the necessary infrastructure (tracks etc.) is already in place and there was a train station in Butler some 20 years ago, anyway. A Train Station project in Butler will also open up jobs and employment opportunities for Butler and surrounding town residents. The icing on the cake will be when the train station is completed. This whole area will be booming. If this is announced soon, everybody (Rich, Poor, Middle Class, small to large businesses, property owners, state & federal Govt.) will benefit tremendously.
Sherry April 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Well as far as our president sandy alviene she could have felt Personlly attacked. Because lets face it she was to personally involved. When her husband -MAYOR showed up a few days later to the opening of the hot dog truck to close it down. And there is a police complaiint made on this activity .And then with in the next few days there is a compliant made by the president of the health dept to ban mobile food vendars that is when it became personal. I believe this is called a neibutism And the board of health members did not know were this complaint came from?????????????
Dick April 12, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Only a politician ,or family member , would say Butler looks better. It looks like absolute garbage. These people think because they got one string of condos and a subway that they are a success. Newark thought the same thing about the PAC and their wonderful arena. While on a smaller scale, the Mayor should be thanking any business that can survive in his Town. And Sandra....you would really keep it the way it is? Time to move on...or get glasses. Long live Tommy's Franks.
Zoo Keeper April 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Unfortunately, a train station is not on the horizon here in Butler. The last time there was a passenger train going into Butler was back in the early 60's. The idea was kicked around many times, the problem would be PARKING for which there is none in /butler, not for merchants and very few for customers, with a two hour limit from Manning Ave to Short Street. The current train station will stay put the way it is. It is in the process of renovation at a huge cost (grant money) and has been closed for about a year now.
Zoo Keeper April 12, 2012 at 07:19 PM
In my opinion, if the Mayor had any questions on the legality of the hot dog truck, he could have gone up to Ace Road and researched it. He would have found out IMMEDIATELY that the hot dog truck was LEGAL. But NO, he had to have the police come and do the leg work for him. Any other Mayor around would have gone to the new business owner and introduced himself and said "Welcome to Butler were glad you decided to bring your business to our community".. There needs to be a health inspection of every business in town as well as fire insprections and the state department of housing should come in and inspect the apartments above the businesses on main St for any suspected violations and to make sure they have proper smoke detectors. This would be the prudent thing to do. Too many fires lately in multiple dwellings. And as far as parking goes on Main St , I think those on the boards should look at the Boro Code book, as far as i know, , parking is for only two hours from Manning Ave to Short St (correct me if I'm wrong) Even the merchants have problems finding parking all day long. Let's suport the rebirth of downtown Butler Not hinder new business. Do we really want to be known as the Ghost Town of North Jersey or even worse the Butler Ghetto?
Bob Vey April 12, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Scott Gabriel has done a really great job improving on the building once known as "Bills". "The Trackside" looks really great & the food is great as well!! But when I drove down Main Street, and saw Tom Frank's Hot Dog stand in front of "The Trackside" I thought it really sticks out like a sore thumb! It looks like Trash!!! It takes away from the nice facade Scott put on the building. I would also like to know the 5 other locations where I can get a hot dog?.
Zoo Keeper April 12, 2012 at 08:16 PM
As you drove down Main St, did you take a really good look? Were you proud of what you saw?
Bob Vey April 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Since Tom is from Bloomingdale why doesn't he have his stand in Bloomingdale?
Bob Vey April 12, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Tom could have his stand at the different fields in Bloomingdale as little league baseball & adult softball starts soon.
Sherry April 12, 2012 at 09:14 PM
bob Vey , what are you talking about? This is a mobile hot dog truck. And we are lucky TOM pick Butler there has been more foot traffic. And did you read the article?
Jrzgrl70 April 12, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Is that all you saw when you drove down Main St? The vacant storefronts didn't stand out? Tommy's Franks has been a welcome addition to Main St. It has increased foot traffic and It has encouraged residents and visitors to stop and talk. You are correct that Mr. Gabriel has done a lot of work on Trackside, but it doesn't bother him that Tommy' s Franks is parked outside of The Trackside, it really shouldn't bother you.
Jrzgrl70 April 12, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Congrats to the Board for doing what was right and allowing businesses like Tommy's Franks to continue to do business in town. It was actually disgusting to learn last night just exactly how the ordinance was recently changed. On Mr. Franks first day of business, the mayor filed a compliaint with the police to shut Mr. Franks business down. When the mayor and the police arrived at the hot dog truck, to the surprise of the mayor (but more likely his embarrassment), he came to realize Mr. Franks was in receipt of all appropriate documentation for his business. Then a few weeks later at the next Board of Health meeting, a 20 year old ordinance is changed? Why? Because they don't want Butler to be overrun by vendors. When asked how many permits had been requested and approved the answer was 1. Mr. Frank held the only permit. The mayors wife, who is the president of the Board, was the one that brought the issue up, but neglected to inform the other board members her husband had previously filed a complaint. When the first vote was taken, she voted. It is truly a conflict of interest and she should have recused herself. It appeared the other board members where surprised by the facts that were presented last night. We need to all go to the next meeting on April 25th to make sure they continue to do the right thing.
NJ Steel April 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM
I agree 100% and I think with some good planning we could definitely figure out the parking situation so a train station could work. It might involve buying out some of the old buildings and possibly building a parking garage somewhere but parking should not deter from building a commuter rail station.
Lauraine Frank April 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Mr Vey. in response,to your comment. Be it B.YO. FOOTBALL., BLOOMINGDALE LITTLE LEAGUE, ALL THE CONCESSIONS WERE RUN BY THE PARENTS,AND OR VOLUNTEERS, AND THE CHILDREN, BE IT CAKE SALES ,OR CANDY . THE MONEY RAISED, WENT TO MAINTAINING THE FIELD ,UNIFORMS,AND CHEERLEADING SQUADS ETC........................ How do i know this ? I was there, when my child played baseball, football, etc. He also played for the Butler Bulldogs!. ..... Thank You
Lauraine Frank April 13, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Lauraine Frank April 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Zoo Keeper April 13, 2012 at 08:13 PM
And here in Butler it's called "The Long And Winding Road"........OH MY !
Sherry April 13, 2012 at 11:39 PM
to the frank family, You are very welcome. And hope your hot dog truck nothing but success in our town of Butler.
Lauraine Frank April 14, 2012 at 01:59 AM
For everyon of the kidsssssssssssssssssssssss, that grew up in Bloomingdale or Butler , you know who you agre.................. And you remain with your family , just remember what we as parents , told you.................. If you see a wet Trends deliver it, knock on the door, say hi, be involved. You have remained what we have as parents raised you to be. ! Great children, and great community people!! We are proud of you and we love you! You make us Proud!!!!!!!!!!!! Support your Community!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lauraine Frank April 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM
typo sorry everyone-------------are thnak you!
Ketan R. Kakkad April 16, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Ketan R. Kakkad First of all, Congrats to Tommy's Frank and Scott of Trackside Bar & Grill for giving us all an opportunity and providing us this platform for improvement of Butler Main Street.. The whole issue is about development of Butler's Main Street and overall benefit to everybody from Butler to the State to the Country. In my humble opinion, where there is will, there is way. When our politicians wants to do something, they can certainly work towards it. Especially when the Residents and the businesses of Butler needs it for overall good. For the train Station in Butler, parking is really not an issue at all. We should take an example from other towns who solved the Parking issues to meet the demands & needs of the commuters. Metro Park Station stands out in my eyes. The then Mayor of Woodbridge township was quite aggressive and he got things done to make Parking space through new technologies and through new constructions. All Rules and Codes are made & can be changed for our good. The will to build a commuter train station at Butler again should be at the Center of the development of Butler and all the small small towns around it. I would urge all the Residents & Businesses of Butler, Kinnelon, Bloomingdale etc. to keep pressing for this for larger good.
Lauraine Frank April 16, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Build it and they will come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sherry April 19, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Did anyone read april 18 trends? The article was a liltle late. But i guess better late then never


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