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Apr 13, 2018 2:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Farmers Market Will Have New Home This Year

Westhampton Beach officials want to move the village's Farmers Market due to safety concerns. ELSIE BOSKAMP
Apr 18, 2018 9:16 AM

The Westhampton Beach Village Board will relocate the community’s seasonal farmers market to the village green, citing growing concerns regarding pedestrian safety and vehicular traffic at its current home in the municipal parking lot on Mill Road.

Initially, the board wanted to move the popular market, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from late May through November, down the street to the park on Glovers Lane. Those plans were derailed when Southampton Town officials informed them this week that the land cannot be used for a for-profit enterprise, as it was purchased using the town’s Community Preservation Fund.

Under state law, communities are permitted to hold annual, approved special events on properties acquired through the CPF. But the village’s farmers market does not qualify.

“It’s not that I don’t want a farmers market there—it’s just not allowable under the program where the money came from,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “A farmers market is a commercial operation, even if the group that’s sponsoring it is a not-for-profit. It’s not a park use.”

The board had considered other options, including moving the market to the village marina, before agreeing following a meeting on Friday morning with officials representing the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce to move it to the village green, according to Westhampton Beach board member Brian Tymann. The village green, which features a gazebo, is at the intersection of Main Street and Mill and Beach roads.

This year’s market will open on Saturday, May 19.

“We have the best farmers market on the East End and, either way, we know we are going to continue to have the best one,” said Phil Grossman, vice president of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce, prior to Friday’s decision to move the market to the village green.

The Westhampton Beach farmers market began about 15 years ago and is overseen by the Chamber of Commerce. Vendors pay $325 to rent a 10-foot-by-10-foot space for the season.

The village had been contemplating the move for some time, citing the continued growth of the market, which now typically includes more than 40 vendors and, on any given Saturday during the summer, can attract up to 500 customers.

“Even though the village provides a traffic control officer for safe crossing by the market entrance, people cross the street at various locations,” Mr. Tymann said, referring to Mill Road. “Someone could get hurt.”

The new location has both available parking, on Mill Road, and a crosswalk connecting the south side of Mill Road to the market entrance.

“It nails down all of our goals,” Mr. Tymann said. “This connects the Main Street businesses with the market much better. We think that Main Street merchants and the market will all do better.”

But, for some, the proposed change is both unexpected and unwanted.

Noelle Kouris, market manager for the Blue Duck Bakery Café, with locations in Riverhead, Southampton, Southold and Greenport, and Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, an owner of Garden of Eve Farm in Riverhead, have been participating in the Westhampton Beach farmers market for more than 10 years. Both said they were only recently notified of a possible relocation.

As of Friday, vendors had not yet been notified of the official change of venue. In an earlier interview, Ms. Kaplan-Walbrecht said she doubted a location change would benefit vendors. “Anytime you move a market, you always see a downturn in sales,” she said.

The market appears to be a victim of its own success, according to village officials. Larger crowds have created parking issues, often resulting on backups on Mill Road when the market is open. Village Trustee Steve Frano noted that there is no crosswalk on Mill Road for pedestrians, and pointed to the absence of sidewalks on the north side of the street as another issue with the Mill Road parking lot.

Isabel Roccaro, owner of Isabel’s Pastries in East Moriches, said she has personally witnessed some of those issues, explaining that “sometimes people would try to pull their car into the market.”

Mr. Tymann noted that the village green potentially could accommodate additional vendors, though any decision to increase that number would be made by the chamber.

Lucy Senesac, a longtime vendor and manager of Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, is working with both the village and chamber on a new vendor booth map for the village green. The chamber expects to share its finalized map with vendors next week. It is expected that the larger vendors, with trucks and trailers, will be permitted to park in available spaces on Beach Road.

Other vendors—including Shelly Sells Sea Salt in Westhampton Beach, Southampton Soap Company, based in Southampton, and Talk Treats To Me, based in Hampton Bays—said this week that they are still waiting to find out what is going on. Michele Martuscello of Westhampton Beach, the owner of Shelly Sells Sea Salt, said chamber representatives have been referring all questions about the pending move to Village Hall.

“It’s a little bit concerning that we’re paying the chamber to participate in the market and they aren’t really giving us much information,” Ms. Martuscello said. “The market’s starting soon—we need to know what’s going on.”

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Jay can comment about a Farmer's Market but doesn't say squat about the person who died and traffic at a standstill for 8 hours. Sorry to bring it up but sick of the "easy" politicians.
By lirider (284), Hampton Bays on Apr 13, 18 7:47 PM
What exactly is the
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Apr 13, 18 8:04 PM
What exactly is the Hampton Classic? Millions are bought in they use town property and they throw a couple bucks to the hospital? That's a non profit? Lol
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Apr 13, 18 8:06 PM
Let's get FACTS straight here------ The Sayre Land that was given to the Town is a long Narrow piece of land leading from Snake Hollow Rd. down to Long Pond. Not much more than 2 acres. Yes, there has been some encroachment there .. people parking their cars or pickups. But the land, once or probably still owned by a McNamarra family where the actual Hampton's Classic is held, is a lot more land than 1 or 2 acres! Chief1 if you knew anything about the properties owned by the locals around here ...more
By summertimegal (93), southampton on Apr 18, 18 5:12 PM
let's talk apples and apples here. The Hampton's Classic is a Horse Show held in Bridgehampton !!! The Farmer's Market in this case is held in West Hampton!
By summertimegal (93), southampton on Apr 18, 18 5:16 PM
The intersection of Mill Rd, Main St, Beach Rd, Beach Lane and Library Ave is probably the most confusing and heavily used in the Village, especially on Saturday mornings in the summer. The Chase bank ATM seems to always have three or four cars on Mill Rd.at that time. The intersection of Mill and Main is at an odd angle and Library Ave is heavily used during that time of the day. Beach Rd carries a lot of traffic from Montauk Hwy to Rogers Beach at these hours on a Saturday and the cars all have ...more
By realwhb (7), westhampton beach on Apr 14, 18 2:52 PM
3 members liked this comment
agreed - Village Green will not be improvement. Add in the additional foot traffic and the grass on the green will suffer, I think.
By bettyboo (38), Southampton on Apr 16, 18 12:45 PM
Doesn't the Classic own the property??? Town owns near the pond?
By knitter (1856), Southampton on Apr 16, 18 5:53 PM
Will shoppers have to bring their own nickle bags? Are vendors responsible to charge per bag.? Consider dogie bags available especially in grassed areas.
. Remember the days when stores asked will that be cash or credit .Now , Do you need a bag.......Carol Hulse Combes

By Histerical (20), East Quogue on Apr 17, 18 8:20 AM
Again, something that was working just fine needs to be changed by our village board.....concerned about pedestrian safety? How about additional police officers
posted at the intersections for the four hours that the market is open.Would that oversee those concerns? we as residents, pay our village taxes to provide simple solutions to any concerns that this present village board may have. It seems most appropriate to coin the saying.... " If it ain't broke.Don't fix it"
By PPBubbles (3), Bronx on Apr 18, 18 4:40 PM
I think improvements should have been made to the existing location. All the vendors need access to their trucks and most use them for active storage of goods during the market. There is no vehicle access to the grass of the green. The Village green accesses the same Mill Road and the one pedestrian crosswalk is always a bit difficult as it is very wide and a busy intersection. Plus there are so many other events on the green. They should have opened part of the fire station for customer parking ...more
By Helgu (1), Westhampton Beach on Apr 19, 18 11:48 AM
Why do we need a farmer’s market at all. Village residents complained loudly about not having a decent market. Now that Best Market has made an investment in the Village it should be supported. The FM caters to merchants who have no connection whatsoever to our Village. It is quaint but a real detriment to a company, Best Market, willing to invest real money in our community.
By RANGER66 (13), WESTHAMPTON BEACH on Apr 19, 18 7:28 PM
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