October 21, 2014

Farmers

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Town approves credit union location

By Greg Elias
Observer staff

The Development Review Board last week approved a farmers’ market operated by New England Federal Credit Union.

The market will operate in a field next to the Harvest Lane financial institution from June 27 through Oct. 13, said Cindy Morgan, marketing manager for NEFCU. It will be open Wednesdays from 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Morgan said she hopes to recruit 20 to 25 vendors. Offerings will include produce, meat, fresh-cut flowers, maple syrup, berries and ready-to-eat food. Some of the produce will come from certified organic growers.

The emphasis will be on agricultural products, she said. The market will be anchored by three large growers, but Morgan said she did not know their names.

The Development Review Board’s approval of the site plan application came with little debate, said John Adams, Williston’s development review planner. The only issue was the signage, he said, as the board refused to permit the off-premise sign the credit union had sought.

The market instead will be advertised with an A-frame sign at the site and a banner on the credit union, Morgan said. Other marketing efforts could include newspaper advertisements and a link on the credit union’s Web site, www.nefcu.com.

While the credit union lines up vendors, Williston resident Christina Mead is also making plans for a farmers’ market about two miles away.

The market will be located on the town green next to Dorothy Alling Library along U.S. 2. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday from July 7 through Oct. 13, Mead said.

She said she is still awaiting final word from about 20 people who have expressed an interest in the market. Those who have signed up include vendors selling arts and crafts, maple syrup, soap, baked goods and berries. All products will be grown or produced in Vermont.

In coming days, Mead said she will launch a Web site, www.willistonfarmersmarket.com that will provide information about the market.

As of Friday, Mead still needed a peddler’s permit. Williston Zoning Administrator D.K. Johnston said the permit will be reviewed by planning staff, not the Development Review Board.

Asked why Mead’s market did not need the same type of permit as the credit union, Johnston said the credit union operation was on “virgin land” that had never before been used. In contrast, the town green has for years hosted concerts and other events.

The Williston Selectboard had previously approved use of the town-owned green for the market. Under state law, development review boards operate independently of selectboards.

“I just don’t want to be put in the position of contradicting what the Selectboard said,” Johnston said.

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