Matt Williams on the new First Thursday farmers market
Boise’s Capital City Public Market, which expanded its Saturday market a couple of weeks ago by offering a First Thursday market in Downtown Boise, wants to establish a Wednesday evening summer market in Garden City.
It’s uncertain whether the market, located at 303 E. 34th St. will get off the ground as scheduled in June, however, after Garden City officials notified organizers that it will need a conditional use permit. City planners also raised concerns about the organizers’ plan.
The 34th Street Market operated last summer on a temporary use permit. Market organizer Hannah Ball, a developer who owns several lots on the street located between Chinden Boulevard and the Boise River, has applied for a conditional use permit that goes before the Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday, April 17. The hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6015 Glenwood St.
Ball, 35, envisions that section of 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. New businesses along 34th Street include Push & Pour, a coffee shop; and the office of Boise Green Bike, the bicycle-rental service.
Last year’s market was well-received, Ball said. It made a positive impact in bringing shoppers to the area just south of the Greenbelt.
“Garden City is up and coming, but it has a long way to go,” Ball said in a phone interview. “We really need some community-style events, and this helps fill that need.”
The city’s Planning and Zoning Department has not made a recommendation to approve or reject the permit, but it has raised several concerns.
Planners believe parking may be inadequate. Ball says the market expects to attract about 100 customers and 30 to 50 vendors each week. The city determined that 150 parking spaces are needed, one per customer and vendor.
There are 323 available parking spaces within a quarter-mile of the market, but city planners said many of those spaces are used by nearby residents and others.
Ball says 60 percent of last year’s market shoppers arrived on foot or bike, lowering the need for auto parking.
Planners also cited a lack of sidewalks between parking areas and the market, which would require visitors to walk on the streets. That “may present a significant pedestrian hazard,” they wrote in a staff report.
The report also cites a lack of restrooms. Ball proposed having two portable restrooms at the market. The staff report said five portable restrooms are required under Central District Health Department regulations for a four-hour event that attracts up to 500 people. Ball said she would agree to provide additional portable restrooms.
Ball hopes the success of the Capital City Public Market will help persuade planning and zoning commissioners to approve the permit.
“They’re really professional and they know how to operate a market properly,” she said.
Several Garden City residents wrote letters urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve the market permit.
“I feel like the market is just another important piece in changing the perception of Garden City,” Stephanie Alvis wrote. “Its clean, vibrant, and fresh set up bring lots of people down to the 34th Street area who would normally just speed past on Chinden on their way into downtown Boise.”