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Village approves farmers' market park-use request

The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees has approved a park-use request submitted by a regional cooperative to host a Tuesday farmers' market at Riverside Park.

Trustees Tom Catillaz and John McEneany and Mayor Clyde Rabideau voted for the measure, while Trustee Allie Pelletieri abstained. Deputy Mayor Jeff Branch was absent from yesterday's meeting.

In March, the board turned down the park-use request, following an appeal from a baker located across the street.

Nancy Moriarty, who owns the Lake Flower Bakery, originally told trustees that having a baker across the street at the Tuesday market would represent unfair competition, noting that she pays taxes and the vendors at the farmers' market do not.

The board agreed, voting 3-2 last month to deny the park-use request.

Following that decision, trustees were flooded with public comments and emails criticizing the move. Many noted that the village shouldn't be protecting individual businesses from competition.

Meanwhile, Moriarty wrote the board to withdraw her previous complaint.

During Monday night's regular board meeting, Allie Pelletieri pointed out that the village's park-use policy needs to be revised.

According to Pelletieri, commercial use of village parks is prohibited - with the exception of the Mt. Pisgah Ski Center and the concession stand at Lake Colby beach.

"Not-for-profit and special events commercial use is permitted in parks identified as 'H' for heavy use," he said. "The listings in our policy show that Riverside Park is listed as 'L' for low and 'M' for medium. Therefore, I believe that it's against village policy, as it stands now, to permit the farmers' market in Riverside Park."

Pelletieri asked the board to table the park-use request submitted by the farmers' market until village staff could make the necessary revisions to its policy. He also suggested the village charge a larger fee for commercial use of its parks.

But his motion to table failed and the park-use request was subsequently approved, meaning the village will now host two farmers' markets in Riverside Park this summer - one on Tuesday and one on Saturday.

It appears, however, that village staff will look at the park-use policy and establish whether revisions must be made.

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