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Mohawk Valley

Ice cream issues in New Hartford

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Ice cream issues in New Hartford
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When an area ice cream truck owner applied for his annual permit, he was notified of time restrictions that could drive him out of the town. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us what the town is doing to change the restrictions before summer heats up.

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. -- Covered in vintage ice cream memorabilia, Hector Morales' office leaves no doubt about what he does for a living. He owns a fleet of ice cream trucks called Gloria's Ice Cream from Utica to New Hartford.

Most towns require him to apply for annual vending permits to operate. But one of his permits this year came with strings attached that could freeze his small business.

For years, Morales had sold ice cream in New Hartford without any problems. But then a village clerk noticed that you can only sell it during certain hours.

"We're restricted from 12 to 4:30, Monday through Friday and no Saturdays and Sundays," he said.

The hours are from a town code meant to cut down on door-to-door soliciting and peddling.

"These restrictions have been in place for a long time. They were obviously not geared towards ice cream vendors," New Hartford Town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said.

Morales says those restrictions could scoop out $15,000 from his business.

"Our peak hours, because the kids are in school right now, are after school, from 3 o'clock until 7, 8 o'clock," he said.

After Morales complained, the town is looking to change the law so they can grant exceptions. They say they didn't mean to restrict ice cream.

"Everybody thinks the town is the Grinch that stole Christmas!" Tyksinski said.

They have received some complaints from people who don't want the noise from the trucks, but they're looking at the benefits.

"It's not a persistent type noise. I mean he drives around your neighborhood, he's there for maybe five minutes at the tops and it's gone. I think it's a good thing for the kids to have some release to go out and have some ice cream," Tyksinski said.

Morales hopes the board will change the law, so he can help everyone chill out before summer heats up.

If New Hartford's Town Board approves the measure, vendors could apply for exceptions, but the Village of New Hartford still does not typically grant any vendors access.

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