Tahoe City Farmers Market: Commons Beach off limits during peak summer weeks | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City Farmers Market: Commons Beach off limits during peak summer weeks

Jenell SchwabSierra Sun

Sun file photo A California Highway Patrol officer directs traffic at a crosswalk in Tahoe City during the summer of 2007. CHP has hasd an officer direct traffic on Thursdays during the summer over the years because of heavy foot traffic from the Foothills Farmers' Market.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. andamp;#8212; The debate over parking and traffic congestion during the community’s farmers market has reached a new level with the Tahoe City Public Utilities District board’s decision to make Commons Beach off limits during peak weeks this summer.The beach may still be used during the 2012 shoulder season if the Foothills Farmers Market Association can present a management plan acceptable to the community and local businesses, the board decided at its Friday meeting.The 4-1 decision came after directors expressed beliefs the market has not been wholeheartedly looking for a new location for 2012, as the board had requested.andamp;#8220;The fact is there’s no plan,andamp;#8221; said PUD board President Judy Friedman. andamp;#8220;To sit here and say, well, you know there’s going to be mitigating factors and they (Foothills Farmers Market Association) promise there’s going to be this and that andamp;#8212; we haven’t seen them working in good faith. Not just with us, but with the community.andamp;#8221;Director Erik Henrikson, the lone dissenter, made a motion earlier in the meeting to make the beach off limits all season. The motion failed 2-3, with Henrikson and Vice President Lou Reinkens voting for ban.Since 2005, when the market moved from Dollar Hill to Commons Beach, it’s been a well-attended, yet tricky-to-manage event in the Tahoe City community.Supporters say the market enlivens and rejuvenates the downtown center while providing a desired service for local residents and second homeowners. Others point out the event might be detrimental to the health of certain Tahoe City small businesses.andamp;#8220;I kind of feel like I’m King Solomon being asked to split the baby,andamp;#8221; Tahoe City Downtown Association Executive Director Steve Hoch told the board.Lisa Adams, proprietor of The Store Copies andamp; More, broke down her 2011 finances at Friday’s meeting.On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from the beginning of June to the end of August, she brought in an average of $1,000-$1,200 a day, she said. On Thursdays in those same months, she made between $475 and $519 a day.Adams attributes the decline in sales to the lack of available parking and the inability of motorists to move in and out of Tahoe City during the market’s hours.andamp;#8220;Had I had that money last summer, maybe the fall wouldn’t have been so hard, and now this winter wouldn’t be even worse,andamp;#8221; she said.Ongoing complaints such as these led the PUD, market association and Tahoe City Downtown Association to attempt mitigation efforts over past years, but, according to previous reports, the problems remained.As a result, last year the board directed the market association to find a new location for the 2012 event. Progression on the task, the board said on Friday, has not been made. andamp;#8220;If they had andamp;#8230; done reasonable due diligence and were coming back and informing us that the alternate sites weren’t working either because of a timing issue or because of logistical issues, I might have a different opinion,andamp;#8221; said PUD board member Dan Wilkins. andamp;#8220;The fact that they’re not being responsive and not following through with their commitments gives me significant heartburn.andamp;#8221;Said TCPUD General Manager Cindy Gustafson: andamp;#8220;It seems like every time we get into this discussion it seems like the rallying cry is that the PUD is trying to kill the farmers market and that’s not the case. The case is that we need to find real solutions to some of the problems.andamp;#8221;