Momentum builds for farmers market move to Garnet Avenue
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 05/03/17 - 03:53 PM | 3293 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The weekly farmers market in Pacific Beach is currently on Bayard. / Photo by Thomas Melville
The weekly farmers market in Pacific Beach is currently on Bayard. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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Pacific Beach Planning Group voted in favor of moving the weekly farmers market from Bayard to Garnet in the heart of the beach community's business district.

The group's April 26 vote was 9-4-2 in favor of the proposal.

Dissenters expressed reservations about the unintended consequences of moving the market to area traffic, congestion and safety. They contended the proposal is being rushed through without adequate notice or proper vetting.

Kristen Victor of beautifulPB introduced the proposal to relocate the market, noting it would draw more customers to the business district and promote making the community more walkable and pedestrian-friendly. She added it would also afford the farmers market the opportunity to expand.

“We want to change the personality of Garnet Avenue and have it be representative of the community,” said Victor. “The only way to do that is to get community residents and visitors to start supporting the businesses that are there.”

“A vibrant ‘Main Street’ is a critical element for a livable and sustainable community. It is time for the residents of PB to embrace our businesses district and support the best operators,” said planning group member Chris Olson. “Moving the farmer’s market to Garnet is a first step to connect our residents with our businesses and make PB the best it can be.”

Longtime PBPG board member Eve Anderson opposed the market-moving motion. She agreed the issue needs to be more thoroughly vetted, while arguing the proposal is problematic.

In remarks, Anderson referenced the annual PB Block Party, which she had a hand in establishing, which had to be discontinued in 2005 because of problems with crowd size and management.

“It's a wonderful farmers market,” commented Anderson, who noted, where the market is proposed to be moved, the 800-900 block of Garnet, there's lots of bars (on 800 block) which have a taco Tuesdays weekly promotion the same day and time, 2 to 7 p.m., as the weekly farmers market.

“Closing that area to traffic – you're going to have a permanent block party in those two blocks,” Anderson argued, adding some farmers market vendors she quizzed about the proposed move “weren't even aware of it.”

Board member and PB Realtor Tony Franco said landlords on Garnet where the market is proposed to be relocated were “100 percent” behind it.

Colleague Ed Gallagher said he “liked the farmers market where it is,” adding it's a positive that the market is “not so big or crowded.”

Both Metropolitan Transit Service providing bus service through PB, and the San Diego Police Department, expressed opposition early-on to moving the farmers market from Bayard to Garnet. MTS said the move would force them to alter their existing bus routes and schedules. SDPD feared a bigger market in a more heavily trafficked area invites greater security risks.

Victor pointed out no existing farmers markets in San Diego County have had major crime incidents associated with them.

In other action

• Longtime PB community planner Chris Olson was re-elected to the board.

• Group election chair Eve Anderson noted there remains one open seat on the planning group.

for a member representing the beach community's commercial district.

• Following a presentation by Joe LaCava, PBPG voted unanimously in favor of endorsing a proposal to have Qualcomm stadium, which is to be demolished and redeveloped by private interests as a future soccer stadium, placed on an election ballot. LaCava said it's up to the City Council to approve the proposed private redevelopment effort outright, or place the issue on the same ballot this November with the mayor's proposed expansion of the downtown Convention Center. Of the “soccer city” proposal, LaCava said the City Council “can't reject it, can't change it and can't renegotiate a better deal.”

- Henish Pulickal, a three-year member of PBPG was elected chair of the group after serving for two years as the advisory group's vice chair.
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