The San Marino City Council voted 4-1 to keep the local Farmers Market at its current location at least until the end of July, after which point they will decide whether or not it stays or is moved to an alternate site.
Wednesday night’s meeting was at times contentious between Mayor Dennis Kneier and those who were more animated about their opposition to the Market. A healthy number of people spoke both against and for the Market, with a fair amount of consideration given to both sides.
Councilman Allan Yung, who voted against the Market the first time because it wasn’t at the “ideal location,” reiterated that he would prefer to see the Market at a different location.
Vice Mayor Eugene Sun made a motion to deny the continuation of the Market unless an alternate site is found, but did not receive the necessary votes to have his motion considered. Both he, Councilman Dick Ward, Councilman Richard Sun and Yung made it clear that they were interested in exploring other locations for the Market.
Councilman Richard Sun told a story of how his wife was first opposed to the Market but has since changed her mind and is in full support of it because it “serves the community” through its organic food and the education that Market goers receive from the vendors. He voiced his opinion that the Market should continue but at a different location.
It was the recommendation of the city staff to give the Market an indefinite extension but the Council had their own ideas.
Kristine Sansevieri of Visage Hair Salon said her business has seen improvement since the Market opened in March. Tammy Uwnawich of San Marino Psychic said her business has suffered, in part because people who might normally want to see a psychic in private would feel uncomfortable seeing one with so many people around. She said she has had to reschedule clients who desire complete privacy that she would otherwise have been able to see on Fridays.
Charles Murray argued that most of the attendees to the Market are not from San Marino, saying that his independent study found that just 24% of visitors are from San Marino. San Marino Chamber President Pete Loeffler questioned Murray’s study. The San Marino Recreation Department seemed to indicate that 85% of the attendees are from San Marino, although the source of this statistic may have come from the vendors or City Farms.
Proponents of the Market emphasized the sense of community it has created in the past several months, providing a place for family and friends to interact with one another and to reconnect with friends people haven’t seen in awhile.
Opponents included local business owners who cited parking issues and questioning the need for the City to have a Market to begin with.
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