Given the popularity of open air produce markets, Friendswood officials revisited the city’s zoning regulations that prevent local produce growers from selling their wares from outdoor stands.
Friendswood staff met with fire and safety officials before presenting the zoning commission with suggested changes to allow a market in town.
A set of “outdoor sales” regulations would allow anyone who wants to operate such a market in town to do so on commercially zoned private properties.
Because many were afraid of a “flea market” operation coming in, proposed rules define what can and can’t be sold at a farmer’s market in Friendswood, forbidding “resale” items and crafts. Security and traffic control plans along with a health district vendor’s permit and clean-up plan would also be required.
Markets are usually held in communities once or twice a week, in a designated place such as a park or parking lot. Many have live entertainment by local groups or musicians. Friendswood’s proposed requirements would allow a market one weekend per month, Saturday and Sunday only, from 8am to 6pm.
“We’re trying to be proactive. Nobody’s beating down the door asking for a market,” assistant to the city manager Nick Haby said. “But if and when they do, we will have a process in place.”
A site plan several years ago for an open air market for a tract on Main Street did not meet zoning requirements, and was seeking to include resale items. That permit was not authorized by council.
If approved by council, issued permits would be valid for six months and could be reissued for another six months. The time period could be re-evaluated in the future and possibly changed to one year, staff said.
The next step is bringing a draft of the regulations before council for approval.