West Bend council to reconsider Farmers Market expansion

By Dave Rank - Conley News Service

April 9, 2014

WEST BEND - Five downtown businesses went to court to force the Common Council to reconsider its March 3 decision allowing an expansion of the Farmers Market on North Main Street this summer.

That reconsideration will be on the agenda of the council’s April 15 organizational meeting when two new aldermen will be sworn in.

“It is not a lawsuit,” City Attorney Karen Christianson said. “It is a petition for review. And that is pending before the Common Council.”

Attorney John DeStefanis of DeStefanis Law Office in Mequon, filed the petition for plaintiffs HTG Design Jewelers, The Exclusive Co. of West Bend, West Bend Coin and Collectibles, Husars House of Fine Diamonds, and Diffusion Hair Design on Wednesday.

An expanded Farmers Market would have vendor stands in front of those five stores.

The petition was presented to Washington County Circuit Court Judge Todd Martens, with the city of West Bend named as the defendant.

A petition for review is defined as a “formal application made to a court in writing that requests action on a certain matter.”

Jim Gugg, owner of HTG Design Jewelers, declined to comment on the petition.

Representatives for The Exclusive Co., West Bend Coin and Diffusion were not available for comment Friday evening.


Reducing parking, access to stores among business owners’ concerns

During a February public forum on the expansion, the businesses expressed concern about closing more of North Main Street, which they said would reduce customer parking, cut access to their stores and block their storefronts.

“The expansion of the Farmers Market should not be at the expense of these merchants. There are other options,” DeStefanis said during the forum.

At the forum, Mike Husar said no one opposed the Farmers Market, but he and other business people wanted its expansion elsewhere, suggesting North Sixth Avenue.

Downtown West Bend Association surveys and a straw poll taken during the February forum indicated most downtown businesses support the expansion on North Main Street.

On March 3, Mayor Kraig Sadownikow cast the deciding vote to allow the DWBA to extend its Saturday morning  Farmers Market an additional 200 feet south on North Main Street. The eight-member Common Council split 4-4, which required the mayor to vote.

On Tuesday, two aldermen were elected to the Common Council - John Butschlick in District 1 and Rich Kasten in District 5. They will replace two aldermen who voted in favor of the Farmers Market expansion, Tony Turner and Allen Carter.

Butschlick reiterated that he supported the decision to allow the market’s expansion, “because I feel the Farmers Market is a great asset for the people of West Bend and will stand behind that decision.”

Kasten said he could not comment because of the court case.

“There’s not a lot I can comment on,” Sadownikow said when contacted by the Daily News. He said he hoped a resolution on the issue would best serve the interests of the city.

The mayor affirmed the market expansion would be on the April 15 agenda. That meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Common Council Chamber in City Hall, 1115 S. Main St.

Christianson also declined further comment.

DWBA Event Manager Kellie Boone called the petition “an attempt to reverse the expansion.”

She said it was her understanding both sides on the issue would have three minutes to present their cases before a re-vote is taken.

The Farmers Market has been held on North Main Street and small sections of side streets between Old Settlers Park north to the turnaround at West Washington Street. Expanding the market would extend south to the turnaround in front of the former West Bend Theater and the Centrum building.

The DWBA has booked all 70 street spaces available to the market and there is a waiting list, Boone has said. The expansion would accommodate up to 33 more vendors.

A year ago the Common Council voted not to allow the expansion, with aldermen saying the downtown businesses factions should work out their differences first. The vote was delayed again Feb. 10 for the same reason.

This year’s Farmers Market is scheduled for each Saturday morning from May 24 through Oct. 25.