Danville council to discuss future of farmers market

Town investment policy, sample banners, parks and arts strategic plan update also on tap for study session

The Town Council is set to talk Tuesday about whether to modify the permit conditions for Danville's certified farmers market in light of the drought, downtown parking availability, vendor participation and other considerations.

The town-issued operating agreement and associated encroachment permit for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association certified market in the Railroad Avenue municipal parking lot is reviewed every three years and is due for reconsideration in March, according to Danville town staff.

The statewide drought has affected area farmers and their ability to take part in local markets, forcing market operators to "take remedial actions that have resulted in the less variety at local farmers markets and a narrower time window within which certain vendors can participate," Jill Bergman, town economic development manager, wrote in a staff report to the council.

Bergman is set to lead a discussion Tuesday morning to gauge council members' thoughts on potential permit modifications during a study session, with no formal action to be taken.

The Pacific Coast association -- which has operated the Saturday morning market in Danville since 1990 -- is asking the council whether its new agreement could allow more non-agricultural vendors during drought times or scale back the size of the market during the winter, Bergman said.

Currently, non-agricultural vendors are limited to 25% of all participating vendors from May to September and 35% from October to April, according to Bergman. The ag/non-ag ratio is calculated based on the number of booths used by individual farms, rather than a straight vendor count.

"The limitation was intended to ensure that the (market) would not adversely affect brick-and-mortar Danville retailers and businesses who have overhead costs in the form of rent and other expenses and who contribute local sales tax revenues back to the community," she added.

The drought has made it difficult for the association to field enough agricultural vendors to meet the required ratio, Bergman said. The association has not indicated how much it would like to increase the non-ag allowance, she added.

Another consideration for town officials is downtown parking availability.

Bergman notes the town's parking study research shows that farmers market patrons take up a majority of parking spots in the Railroad Avenue and Clocktower municipal lots, impacting the amount of public parking available throughout downtown on Saturdays.

"The combined success of downtown redevelopment efforts and operation of the (certified farmers market) over the past 25 years will require an ongoing effort to balance needs related to simultaneously accommodating peak parking demands and hosting the (market)," Bergman said.

The farmers market discussion leads the council study session, set to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

In other business

* The council members will discuss the process for updating the town's investment policy.

* They will also consider sample Arts District banners and review the parks, recreation and arts strategic plan update.

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29 people like this
Posted by J.J.
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 7:30 am

With regard to the farmers market and parking, patrons of the market are usually in and out. Use of a parking space is usually between 15 and 30 minutes. How is that "distrupting" down town businesses? As a matter a fact, when I go to the farmers market I sometimes patronize business that I normally wouldn't because I happen to be in the area.

Town of Danville, please do not make matters worse, with any of your so called "improvements".

20 people like this
Posted by A.J.
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 8:21 am

I regularly attend the Saturday Farmer's Market in Danville. It's great to see so many family also attending and enjoying the venue. It's a great place to get fresh fruits and vegetables you cannot get at the local grocery stores. You would force shoppers to attend other neighboring farmer's markets and hurt our local businesses when they shop out of town. Try not to change thing because the "drought" is only temporary. In regards to "farmers market patrons take up a majority of parking spots in the Railroad Avenue and Clocktower municipal lots, impacting the amount of public parking available throughout downtown on Saturdays." the farmer's market is open from 9 - 1. The little congestion it does cause is a good thing and not a bad thing that it implies.

3 people like this
Posted by Fold Art
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:23 am

Are we overtaxing the merchants? We don't go, because the prices are ungawdly high, vs. the Windmill, for instance -- the Danville Premium. I assume that a chunk of that cost is in the permitting, passed on to the farmers, passed on to the resident$.

That applies to city facilities as well, like the community center. Small volunteer groups just can't pay the kind of freight they charge. Tax money built it -- why discourage its use to build Real community?

Like this comment
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

Is the COUNCIL actually open to considering removing the Farmers Market altogether? Or is this just a tweaking session. (It looks like it is really about the Pacific Coast Asso getting the terms and conditions to be more favorable to their bottom-line.)

The COUNCIL should know that there is a silent (mostly) and unseen amount (majority or minority) of Danville citizens who do NOT GO to the Farmers Market. And we have reasons for not going!

1. It takes up a lot of parking spaces (which were designed for parking).....and then it requires a lot of parking spaces for parking.
2. It competes with local markets and local businesses.
3. And it makes getting through Town to the places that WE want to go just that much slower and congested.

For me, It isn't real exercise, IMO......and it doesn't supply any want or need that I, personally, have. Therefore I never go!

Does it have some virtues? I guess so. People do attend.
(I have no particular desire to stop those people from having their needs/desires met. But I don't get it. Please describe specifically. What do you get from the Market that you couldn't really get from the Grocery Store or a walk around Town? Turnips? Make me desire to go.)

I don't think the COUNCIL can make an informed decision without understanding the following (and I'd like to know these factors myself!):
1. How much it "costs" Danville to hold this event in terms of regulation, planning, personnel, policing, cleanup, etc..
2. How much it grosses and nets for Danville.
3. It's impact (positive and negative) on Danville's brick & mortar locations.

Just so the Council knows, I'd be plenty OK with having the Farmers Market gone completely.

11 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:32 am

The Danville Farmer's Market is a great Saturday morning venue for families, seniors and more. People gather there to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, socialize and get out of the house and into the sunshine (most of the time). It adds to the small town feeling of Danville. I think the activity seen on Saturday mornings is primarily a result of the market and that it brings people to businesses in Danville. And importantly you lose the Danville Farmer's Market, you lose the character of Danville and we become another Dublin.

2 people like this
Posted by Bob M
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

The Farmers Market has greatly helped the attendance at the Museum.
The train exhibit broke all records for attendance the last two years. Saturday was the
busiest day due to the presence of the Farmers Market.
Attendance and therefore income would definitely suffer without the Farmers Market.

2 people like this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm

The farmers market does make Saturdays congested downtown and parking is at a premium during the hours of 9 to 1PM. Having said that, there are vendors that supply items that one cannot find in the local stores. The fresh veggies, lettuce, flowers are excellent and it is nice to be outside in the fresh air. Lots of families come with their children and it is a nice outing for all. The major downside is that it is too small. I wish it were a bigger farmers market with more choices. If they get rid of it I will go to the one in Walnut Creek on Sundays on Locust, cause after there are more restaurants to go to for lunch!

7 people like this
Posted by Lifetime Resident
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2015 at 1:46 pm

The Farmer's Market is essential to making Danville a wonderful community. It makes Saturdays more special and enjoyable whether or not I use the Market. Parking around town is not a problem since the cars move in and out quickly by people attending the market and brings people to restaurants for breakfast. I regularly use Lunardi's market as well as Farmer's Market and do not find either place impacted by parking. I do hope the Market is represented fairly by the Council and that we will continue to have a Market in the middle of town.

2 people like this
Posted by AlamoNeighbor
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Hi Danville,

If your town council shuts down yours, give ours a try on Sunnday mornings. It's a great little Farmer's Market - not as many vendors as yours - but is growing and has a wonderful small town feel...

2 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

The ugly menace strikes shut down the market so not to restrict parking and business to the new and 'Improved Danville Hotel' development and residences. Yep. That's why they are possibly going to close the market. The beast. The menace. The $10 gift cards. Oh the humanity !

1 person likes this
Posted by JRM
a resident of Danville
on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Memo to town council....we like the farmer's market, do not disrupt the farmer's is wonderful vibe and location.
To repeat for NOT diminish one of our wonderful town traditions.

Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

We have been going there for years and love the Farmers Market. I can only assume the "discussion" is a direct result of allowing the Danville Hotel Complex to proceed without a single parking place provided for the public.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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