City asserts control of sidewalks during Farmer’s Market

The city reclaimed jurisdiction of sidewalks around the Fayetteville Square during Farmer’s Market hours at Tuesday night’s council meeting. Issues cropped up last Saturday when volunteers walking shelter dogs for adoption were asked by Farmer’s Market management to leave the inner sidewalks of the Square.

In addition, political candidates, as well as people seeking signatures for petitions were told they were not permitted to be on the Square last Saturday, the opening day of the market.

The original city ordinance establishing a market in Fayetteville gave management of the Square to the Farmer’s Market during its hours of operation. The Farmer’s Market has a policy that stipulates animals cannot be sold or displayed, and because the dogs from the shelter were on display to be adopted, management of the market enforced that policy on Saturday. This is the first year that rule has been applied to the animal shelter.

“I didn’t realize we had allowed them that much power,” Brenda Thiel, who represents Ward 1, said.

During the latter part of last season, the animal services advisory board detected “animosity toward all dogs being at the market,” said Eva Madison, the chair of the board. To combat those sentiments, Madison said shelter volunteers starting handing out the rules of having dogs in public to patrons of the market.

“I don’t think the problem down there is the shelter dogs,” Madison said. “But I don’t know that anyone wants to see any dogs banned down there, and I certainly don’t think we ought to start with the shelter dogs.”

Only well behaved shelter dogs are taken to the market, said Richard Clehouse, volunteer coordinator for the animal shelter.

Musicians play on opening day of the
2010 Fayetteville Farmer’s Market.

“If one barks or one gives the least bit of trouble, we send that volunteer and that dog right back to the shelter,” he said.

Of the 12 shelter dogs taken to the Square on Saturday, eight were adopted, Clehouse said.

Chuck Rutherford, a representative from the Farmer’s Market, said their goal is to try to get along with everyone on the Square.

“The manager was just trying to enforce the rules and bylaws of the Farmer’s Market,” he said.

The city already had an agenda item concerning operating hours for the market slated for the meeting, so aldermen made an amendment to that ordinance, asserting control of the sidewalks, which usurped Farmer’s Market management.

By unanimously approving the ordinance, the Farmer’s Market will be allowed to operate an extra hour on Saturdays. The provision that would have allowed the market to run during First Thursday events was stricken from the ordinance before the vote.

In other business, remember that hubbub about the water tank in the Hyland Park neighborhood? The contract approving the construction of the 500,000-gallon water tank on Canterbury Road passed unanimously.

The tank will be in the golf-ball style and painted a light gray color, which the neighbors agreed to, said David Jurgens, utilities director for the city.

The council also heard the first reading of the form-based zoning districts ordinance. If passed, the ordinance would create three new zoning districts and set design standards for those districts, Development Services Director Jeremy Pate said. The modifications to the code would also create a more predictive process for developers, he said.

Pate said he wants the item to go through three full readings so that the public has as many chances as possible to hear about the ordinance and weigh in on the matter.

Mary Robbins is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She declared Fayetteville as her hometown upon moving here for college. She is a Journalism graduate who enjoys live music, the outdoors and attending city council meetings. For more of Mary’s contributions, visit her author page.