Mayfield Heights Council Clears Way for a Farmer's Market
Now that his proposal has been accepted, a Lyndhurst man hopes to secure vendors for this season.
Though its operator admits time is running out, a farmer's market could hit Mayfield Heights this summer.
City Council on Monday approved two measures opening the door for an outdoor market that would be held on Saturdays and/or Sundays. First, council amended portions of a 2010 ordinance to mostly favor proprietors like Rodney Shaia, a Lyndhurst man who hopes to bring a farmer's market to the west side of the Mayfield Heights City Park's parking lot.
The changes include allowing the sale of items other than produce if the planning commission and city council approves it. Previously, items like flowers or crafts would have been prohibited at such a market. Council shortened the allowed hours of operation to 9 a.m. to noon, but extended the farmer's market season by month, changing it to June through October.
Next, council approved a motion in favor of permitting Shaia's Chelmsford Road concept. He will now continue selling potential vendors on his idea, hoping to secure them for the summer and fall.
Shaia, whose 35 years of experience in buying, selling and management include work at the Northern Ohio Food Terminal, envisions a market with about 20 to 25 vendors. He said he talked to several who opted to wait for his permits before making any formal commitments.
With a week left in April, it would be hard for the market to kick off in June, Shaia said.
"It's kind of late in the year to start right away," he said. "A few of the vendors I've called are already in a market, and they don't have the manpower to do more than one market."
Still, he remains hopeful and has been consulting with the operators of farmer's markets in Shaker Heights, Hudson and Geauga County. His potential vendors range from actual farmers to pizza shops. All are from Ohio.
Though six of council's seven members supported the ordinance amendment and Shaia's idea, many asked about tax receipts, imposing fees to help cover costs and liability. Mayor Gregory Costabile responded by saying things would be handled on a case-by-case basis if more market ideas pop up. He added that more amendments could be made to the ordinance.
Councilwoman Diane Snider acknowledged that the city was "a little behind" other communities with farmer's markets. For that reason, she encouraged council members to give Shaia a chance.
"I know that these markets have been very successful in other communities all around us," she said. "I know a lot of our residents travel to the other communities for this type of service.
"This is brand new, so there's going to be issues, and we'll have to face those as they come along … If it doesn't happen this year, we'll be set up and ready to go for next year."