Tahoe City utility backs farmers’ market, concerts | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City utility backs farmers’ market, concerts

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunJohn Eimer, a California Highway Patrol Officer, directs traffic at a crosswalk in Tahoe City Thursday. CHP has an officer direct traffic on Thursdays because of the heavy foot traffic from the Foothills Farmers Market at Commons Beach.

Before a crowd of farmers’ market and concert supporters the Tahoe City Public Utility District board Tuesday night unanimously voted to seek permanent permits for both events.

North Tahoe residents filled the district’s boardroom and even spilled over into the hallway. Many applauded loudly at each supportive comment for the two popular Tahoe City events held at Commons Beach in Tahoe City each summer.

“These are two events that really bring our town together,” said Ed Miller. “It makes us feel more like a town and not an unincorporated area.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permits the district is applying for will cost $20,000, but the farmers market will repay the district $7,600 for its permit and traffic study fees.

Both events had operated on temporary permits, and were required to study traffic, parking and noise before getting permanent approval.

The planning agency still must approve the permit applications for the events to continue.

Recommended Stories For You

“There are just some things you know are right ” and these two things are,” said Randy Pomin, a Tahoe City resident.

Tahoe City resident Richard Mallet was the lone audience member who said the market should be moved or shut down ” mainly because of the traffic and parking problems he said the event exacerbates.

He urged the district to separate the permits for the concerts and the market and apply only for a permit for the concerts.

The board briefly discussed changing the time or the day of the market. But the idea was dropped when Carol Arnold of the Foothill Farmers’ Market told the board that conflicts with other markets and the driving time farmers put in to arrive to the event would make that infeasible.

“They couldn’t do it, and we couldn’t ask them to do it,” Arnold said of the farmers.

The board’s unanimous vote to apply for permits for both events excluded board member Kelly Atchley, who abstained from the vote because of a conflict of interest. Atchley is the executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, which supports both events.

“There is no question that the concert program is the most cost-effective program per dollar spent,” said board president Lou Reinkens.

The district will pay for the concert permits from its operating budget, said District General Manager Bob Lourey. The district already pays $25,000 per year to support the concert, and the utility’s staff work to set up the stage each week. The rest of the funds for the concert come from donations and partners, like the Tahoe City Downtown Association.