Violations force changes at Hillcrest Farmers Market

Market plans to expand as some vendors lose space
Posted at 7:16 AM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 21:15:57-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A handful of minor city code violations have forced the Hillcrest Farmers Market to make changes to their layout, resulting in a handful of vendors losing their spot.

Market officials tell 10News they didn't get any officials citations or warnings, but they heard from police and the fire marshal in the past few weeks about the problems, and have worked with the city to address all of them.

One, in particular, has led to the most disruption. Fire officials told the market they needed to keep a 20-foot buffer between the booths and the median on Normal Street, to allow enough room for a fire truck to drive through. To accommodate that, the market had to remove about 30 of its 200 vendor spots. Some of the booths were put in the north parking lot of the DMV, but 13 vendors still haven't returned to the market.

Also, market officials say they had gotten complaints from local churches and business about parking and people crossing the street without using crosswalks near the vendor parking lot. To change that, they've hired a parking attendant to oversee the lot. The attendant also directs non-vendors to the free parking areas at nearby schools.

"All these changes have made things better," says Market Manager Mark Larson. He says it's been an adjustment, but the feedback has been great from both customers and vendors.

"Sales are up," Larson says while pointing out that the extra walking room has made it easier for families and people with strollers to navigate the market.

The market also plans to expand onto Harvey Milk Street to make room for the vendors who lost their spot. They're also looking into adding a concert stage for live music. To do that, they need to re-submit their permit to the city. That could take a few months, but they're hopeful it will make the market better in the long run.