My Turn: Is Commons Beach the best place for the Farmers Market?
October 14, 2007
Several years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor regarding the placement of the Farmers Market on the Commons Beach parking lot. In response, I was labeled a grumpy old guy trying to deprive the citizenry of their vegetables. Several weeks ago I attended a Tahoe City Public Utility District board meeting and asked some questions regarding the placement of the Farmers Market on the parking lot at the Commons. In Friday’s Sierra Sun I was labeled a group and a curmudgeon. Whether a grumpy old guy, a group, or a curmudgeon, my main problem with the Farmer’s Market, as currently sited, is that it sits on public access (to the lake) parking. Not everyone can afford a lakefront and, public access being as minimal as it is, is placing a commercial venture there the best use of that land?On top of that, we’re told that parking is at a premium in Tahoe City. So much so that recreational land at 64 acres has to be paved for commercial parking (130 spaces to begin with). The ironic part of all this is that the Farmer’s Market requires 130 parking spaces and, having exactly zero available, is operating with a variance. The upshot is the double whammy: the market sits on parking, which exists and operates with parking that does not exist.Another problem associated with Tahoe City in the summer time is traffic congestion. Situated at the Commons, the Farmer’s Market is in the worst possible location. Not only do its customers have to travel into and through a heavily congested area, but the cross walk adjacent the fire department is a major choke point on the west end of town. Discussions of traffic studies, which aren’t really needed, are preposterous; if there were no negative impact, there’d be no need to have a highway patrolman playing crossing guard in a losing battle to keep traffic moving. Can the level of service, which is probably an F during the summer, get a rating worse than F?I understand the desire to have the Farmer’s Market. I just don’t feel it should be on the Commons. If the PUD is convinced that it’s something we can’t live without, perhaps another location can be found. Living on Fairway Drive in Tahoe City, I’d hate to see it on my street, but the PUD does have two pieces of property there the Fairway Community Center and the PUD offices. Instead of asking the public to forego access to the lake, maybe the PUD can give up its parking spaces to keep the market in town.The Tahoe City PUD is meeting on this matter next Tuesday, October 16 at 5 p.m.C’mon out and decide for yourself: grumpy old man or curmudgeon. Richard Mallett is aTahoe City resident.