Danville Express

Newsfront - September 28, 2007

Campaigning to keep the Farms

Amid passing cars and customers stopping for produce, Assemblyman Guy Houston gathered signatures Tuesday to counter a county health department decision that could shut down Windmill Farms market in San Ramon. Houston, who is running for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, took the opportunity to criticize the current county mandate that would force the old-time market to build four walls and a roof for the purpose of sanitation.

"The county shouldn't be doing this, they've got better things to do," he told one customer who stopped to sign the petition.

The Smith family, which has owned the market for 33 years, has already gathered more than 5,000 signatures and aims to have at least 6,000 for an appeals hearing Oct. 2. Signatures show the overwhelming support from the community, but the real deciding factor could be a grandfather clause noting that businesses set up before 1985 don't have to adhere to present day standards.

"These people can't afford this," Houston said. "I think this is an outrageous use of county authority."

The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Contra Costa County Health Services office, 2120 Diamond Blvd. in Concord.

-Natalie O'Neill


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