Tahoe City Farmers Market: PUD, business owners come to compromise for 2011
TAHOE CITY, Calif. andamp;#8212; There is a saying among Tahoe City residents that goes, andamp;#8220;If you are stuck in traffic downtown in the summer, it must be Thursday.andamp;#8221;The idiom refers to traffic congestion in the downtown corridor associated with the weekly Tahoe City Farmers Market held Thursdays at Commons Beach from the end of May through the end of September.The market andamp;#8212; sponsored by the Tahoe City Downtown Association, Tahoe City Public Utility District and Foothill Farmers Market Association andamp;#8212; offers patrons a selection of fresh produce grown locally, along with various craft items created in the region. While the opportunity to purchase fresh food items grown right down the hill in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley is beneficial to both growers and customers, the lack of parking and traffic jams that emerge during market hours are again causing some Tahoe City residents and businesses to lament the event.Many business owners arrived at the Friday, March 18, TCPUD board meeting to register complaints and attempt to identify resolutions to the issue.Lisa Adams, owner of The Store Copies andamp; More, located downtown Tahoe City, estimates she loses about 48 percent of sales during the Thursday events.andamp;#8220;It’s an economic stressor to my business,andamp;#8221; she said.Adams related one incident where she said she lost about $150 in sales to a customer who decided to journey to South Lake Tahoe to have copies made rather than attempt to make it from one end of Tahoe City to the other during the farmers market.Adams did not advocate for the closure of the market, however, recognizing its popularity and importance to the vitality of downtown.Many business owners in attendance expressed similar sentiments, talking of traffic that hampers business while advocating for a compromise rather than drastic measures. andamp;#8220;I’m not against the farmers market, but I am concerned about the economic impact to businesses,andamp;#8221; said Jan Brisco, a Tahoe City property manager.
Cindy Gustafson, general manager of TCPUDandamp;#8212; which holds the permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for the event andamp;#8212; said one potential solution is to move the farmers market to a different location. After discussing potential locations, TCPUD staff and board centered on the 64-acre park owned by the U.S. Forest Service, located just south of the andamp;#8220;Wyeandamp;#8221; intersection.andamp;#8220;The forest service indicated they would be amenable to hosting the event at the site,andamp;#8221; said Ron Treabess, TCPUD board president. However, the move couldn’t happen until 2012, as Placer County public works officials are executing plans to construct a $7 million transit center facility on the site during the summer of 2011.Thus, officials agreed to keep the market at its present location for 2011, with new conditions meant to accommodate businesses.Justin Broglio, executive director of TCDA andamp;#8212; which represents about 150 of the 250 registered businesses operating in Tahoe City andamp;#8212; recommended reducing the hours from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. to noon to accommodate the many restaurants that depend on lunch-time patrons.Furthermore, Broglio unveiled plans for an aggressive parking education campaign with multiple signs directing motorists about proper parking.Also, TCDA, in conjunction with TCPUD, will prohibit new craft vendors and disallow vendors from parking on Highway 28. Also, the Foothills Farmers Market Association must sponsor summer concerts at Commons Beach, provide two vendor booths at the market andamp;#8212; one for TCDA and one for TCDA’s business of the week andamp;#8212; and host a fundraising dinner for the TCDA.Furthermore, Broglio agreed to distribute detailed maps of downtown Tahoe City which illustrate available parking appropriate for vendors and visitors.Business owners in attendance expressed a willingness to accept the compromises with an eye toward moving the event to the 64-acre park in 2012.andamp;#8220;This meeting has ended with a group that had concerns but is willing to move forward,andamp;#8221; Treabess said. andamp;#8220;All of us may not be in agreement, but there has been acceptance.andamp;#8221;
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