PTC developing farmers market rules

With two active farmers markets already thriving in Peachtree City, city officials have put together an ordinance to regulate them.

The city has a similar ordinance in place allowing businesses to host special events, but those are only allowed four times a year, said Interim Community Development Director David Rast. In contrast, the farmers markets at The Avenue and the Peachtree Crossing shopping center are operating several days a week.

Farmers markets will be allowed to operate up to two times a week at any one specific location under the rules approved by the city’s Planning Commission Monday night. Each day’s farmers market will be limited to six hours of operation, according to the ordinance.

The farmers markets may provide for the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables, but no prepared food, officials said. Farmers markets will not be allowed to have sales of crafts, souvenirs, “second-hand merchandise” and the like, according to the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, the operator of the farmer’s market must get a permit from the city and provide a letter of approval from the property owner.

The ordinance must be approved by the City Council at a later date before it can be implemented. It is tentatively scheduled for consideration at the May 20 council meeting.

Greg Price, the owner of J. Christopher’s restaurant in Westpark Walk, said the city should consider other ways for local businesses to have special events to attract customers.

City staff informed Price that the city currently allows businesses to host special events up to four times a year. Price said he thought the farmers market idea could be expanded so other shopping centers have an opportunity to take advantage of similar events.

“I definitely think we can give people something to do on particular nights of the week, and just saying ‘let’s call it a farmers market exception’ may be too limiting,” Price said.

Rast said the city is looking at how best to expand its special event process. City Economic Development Coordinator Tony Bernard noted that Peachtree Crossing shopping center has an active tenant group that works together to plan special events. The city offers no such planning function for businesses, but is working on a way to help businesses advertise such events on the city’s website, Bernard said.

Price said he is working on forming a merchants group at Westpark Walk, but he is wary of the shopping center owner profiting from any special events hosted by merchants there.

Rast said Bernard and a development authority representative would meet with him and help promote any special events coming up.

“We want the businesses here to prosper,” Rast said.

Development Authority member David Conner said the authority would help Price organize tenants at Westpark Walk, but special events for businesses are due to the efforts of tenants instead of the shopping center owners or the authority.

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