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Fredonia Farmers Market seeks more space

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Members of the Fredonia Village Board are pictured at Monday’s meeting. It was the first in-person session since March 2020.

The Fredonia Farmers Market wants more space, and a community member who co-chairs the village Planning Board seeks code enforcement against a hot dog vendor who sets up nearby.

After Dave Fridmann told members of the Fredonia Village Board on Monday that the market should be able to use East Barker Common when construction work is halted, Village Clerk Annemarie Johnston read an email from the vendors seeking the same thing.

“We realize construction will be occurring at some point and that at that point, it is necessary for the market to be on Day Street or Church Street. We ask that if there is no construction, as there hasn’t been for the last two weeks, that we can arrive in the morning, make a logical assessment that no construction is going on … and proceed to set up,” the vendors stated.

“We are getting too big for Church Street and the vendors on the west side get the sun which does damage to some of their products as they get very hot,” they added. “When we were in the park for the first two weeks we received numerous compliments from customers and vendors concerning how much better it is having the Farmers Market in the park under the trees. We now have over 20 small local businesses, and growing all the time.”

“They were confined to the roadway again. It didn’t make any sense to me,” Fridmann had said of his visit to the market Saturday, while speaking during the community comments time. He called for an adjustment to the sellers’ space if construction work was clearly halted when they show up on Saturday mornings.

Fridmann then turned his attention to Gus Potkovick, who has operated a hot dog stand at or near the market since 2011, though he did not participate last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to have somebody setting up with a hot dog stand downtown every weekend during the Farmers Market who doesn’t have a permit to be doing so,” he said. “We don’t have any enforcement and I don’t know why we don’t have any enforcement. We’ve got food truck laws, I know that we suspended them for a period of time last year. But I thought that period of time expired, so I’m hoping we can have enforcement of that again.”

Potkovick told the OBSERVER in May that the Farmers Market board denied his application this year, stating that his product was not sufficiently homegrown. Board member Tom Degolier said then that Potkovick was never in strict compliance with the rules, but the board is now making an effort to crack down on rule-breakers while not singling him out.

Potkovick questioned whether he was getting punished for his disdain of President Joe Biden, and said the market sells many things that do not comply with its rules on locally produced items.

Trustee Roger Britz said the board annually passes a resolution outlining the space the Farmers Market can use. He asked Johnston if they would be able to expand their area if the vendors made a formal written request. The clerk said they would be able to. A couple minutes later, she read their request, which she said she had received earlier that day.

No village officials commented on the situation with Potkovick.

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