Business

Concerns were raised about a proposed Garden City farmers market. Here’s what happened

There will be a farmers market this summer in Garden City after all.

The Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the 34th Street Market to operate on Wednesday evenings between June and October.

The commission also will allow applicant Hannah Ball to host other community events with fewer than 200 attendees during the day and evenings Thursday through Sunday.

“I’m really excited,” Ball said. “We didn’t know whether we were going to get approved for this or not.”

Ball, 35, envisions 34th Street as a hip and edgier version of Boise’s Hyde Park or Bown Crossing. She has plans to build an event center and townhouses, cottages and other compact homes from Chinden Boulevard north to the Greenbelt. The farmers market is just the first step, and Ball said she plans to submit an application for a larger development in coming weeks.

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The shaded properties along East 34th Street and adjoining streets between Chinden Boulevard and the Boise River are parcels owned by developer Hannah Ball, in a projection shown Wednesday at a Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Ball plans to build an event center and townhouses, cottages and other compact homes in the neighborhood. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

New businesses along 34th Street include Push & Pour, a coffee shop; and the office of Boise Green Bike, the bicycle-rental service. Coiled Wines has a tasting room there and Life’s Kitchen, a culinary training program for at-risk people from 16 to 20, plans to move its operation to 34th Street from near the Boise State University campus.

City planners raised concerns about parking and the lack of sidewalks leading from where visitors will park on the street to the market site at 303 E. 34th St., next to the Greenbelt and the Boise River.

Neighbors who testified told commissioners that there was little traffic and few sidewalks between 32nd Street and 36th Street.

“Most of us walk to the Greenbelt along the street now,” said Margaret Temple, who lives two blocks south of the market site.

Temple and other neighbors said last year’s market, which operated for several weeks on a temporary use permit, ran without problems and brought people to the neighborhood. They agreed with Ball that most customers walked or rode bicycles, arriving on the Greenbelt. They didn’t think parking would be an issue.

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A standing-room crowd listened Wednesday evening as the Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission heard Hannah Ball seek approval of a permit to operate a Wednesday evening farmers market on 34th Street next to the Greenbelt. The commission approved the permit. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

Mona Worchol, executive director of the Capital City Public Market, which will operate the Wednesday market, said her staff will handle having portable restrooms brought to the site and cleaning up any trash. The Garden City market will feature about 50 booths, fewer than half the 110 booths that operated at last Saturday’s opening of the Boise market.

“This will be a small cross-section of what we do in Downtown Boise,” she said.

Lea Rainey, co-owner of the Roots Zero Waste Market at 34th Street and Chinden Boulevard — which she said should be ready to open in three months — said she will provide free parking for customers of the farmers market.

Last year, she said her family rode bicycles across the river from the Boise side to come to the 34th Street Market. “There was actually less bike parking than car parking,” she said.

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A sign brought by Hannah Ball to the Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday asked commissioners to approve her request to operate a weekly farmers market. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

In her application, Ball said 60 percent of market visitors arrived by bike or car. While city planners said 150 car parking spaces were needed to accommodate customers and vendors, Ball said 110 spaces, mostly available in front of lots owned by her on 34th Street, should be adequate.

The city asked Ball to install sidewalks on 300 feet of property she owns on Carr Street, the closest cross-street from the market. She agreed.

Commissioner Kent Brown said it was wrong to ask Ball to add sidewalks to each of the other streets where people might park. “We can’t expect this woman to fix that problem,” Brown said.

The permit will expire after the 2021 season. By then, Ball expects to develop her other properties and include a continuation of the market in those plans.

The market will accept electronic food stamp cards, as the Capital City Public Market does. “That will give low-income residents the chance to buy good, quality produce and other foods,” Ball said.

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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