Letter to The Editor: A solution for Malibu Farmers Market

Dear Editor,

To the Malibu City Council and Malibu City Manager,

Beneath the dappled shade of the Sycamore trees, surrounded by cool autumn ocean breezes, shopping at the Malibu Farmers Market on Sunday was indeed a distinct pleasure. As a longtime Board Member of the Cornucopia Foundation, I am appealing to the City Council members, as well as the City Manager, for individual ideas to remove all obstacles in relocating the Malibu Farmers Market to the parking spaces adjacent to Legacy Park by this weekend. Due to the ongoing SMC construction rapidly encroaching upon the Market’s space week by week, month by month, relocating the Market across Civic Center Way to the property bordering the perimeter of Legacy Park, is the optimum solution.

SMC’s construction project continues to squeeze the Farmers Market vendors out of their allotted square footage, creating a very challenging situation for the Market to operate. This past Sunday, for example, with no prior warning or communication from SMC, an enormous red construction Boom Crane lift was left parked in the space allotted for the Farmers Market, where the vendors typically set up. Not only is this unacceptable for the Market, but it shows total disrespect for the City of Malibu, which you represent. In addition, the College construction staging has closed one of the Market’s required ingress and egress routes, creating a dangerous situation should an emergency vehicle have to gain access to the Market. On Sunday, the Market had no choice but to set up across the street.

Debra Bianco of the Cornucopia Foundation hopes to work with the City to find a viable solution as soon as possible. The City of Malibu owns Legacy Park and its parking spaces. However, half of these parking spaces are considered part of Legacy Park. During a recent phone meeting with Malibu’s City Manager and Deputy Manager, they clarified that although half the parking along the perimeter is considered part of Legacy Park, the City of Malibu owns this area.

The Vendors set up alongside the curb, not on the pathway bordering Legacy Park. The Vendors do not impede traffic on Civic Center Way. Residents and Park visitors alike have ample room in which to stroll along the shady pathways and peruse the various Farmers Market selections.

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Why doesn’t the City get in touch with the entity or heirs from whom Malibu purchased Legacy Park, so that they may waive conditions previously agreed upon, and allow the Farmers Market to operate along the perimeter of the Park? Since these parking spaces are on a public street, this is a feasible and reasonable route to explore.

At the last several City Council meetings, the need to help our Farmers Market was emphasized as a priority by all. The spot adjacent to Legacy Park is perfect for our Malibu Farmers Market, as all the residents will agree. It has the look and feel of a beautiful European outdoor Market, and due to the lack of asphalt, it is at least 10 degrees cooler than when operating in the Library parking lot.

Please let us know what each of you can do to help resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Collectively, I believe a viable solution can be proposed and implemented in a timely manner, which will be a win-win for all.

Lee LaPlante, Malibu

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