Residents in Fairlington won’t have to go as far to get fresh produce, starting next year. On Saturday, Arlington County Board members unanimously approved allowing a an open-air farmers market in Fairlington.
The market will take place at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Sundays from April through November. The special use permit allows for 15 to 20 vendors and up to 29 tents on a pedestrian path behind the community center.
The use permit will allow the Arlington-based nonprofit Field to Table, Inc., to operate the market. That’s the same organization running the Westover farmers market. In order to accommodate concerns about noise, no amplified music or speakers of any kind will be allowed.
Nearly a dozen residents showed up to express their opinions of how the market may affect the community. With one exception, all the speakers supported the market.
“Farmers markets are intended to be neighborhood affairs,” said resident Douglas Penn. “It’s a natural enhancement to a community that already exists. It’s another jewel in the crown.”
Some residents previously had expressed concern that a farmers market at the community center would affect parking. County staff notes that the market is on several bus lines and there is ample free parking in the area. The special use permit will come up for renewal in October 2015, and Board members say at that time they would address any parking concerns that may still exist. The Board also has the authority to examine formal complaints before the permit comes up for renewal.
“I do think this is a good thing. I am aware that there are some folks that are upset. Which is part of the reason I’m going to look at the parking and try to reassure them. But we absolutely need to give it a try,” said Board member Libby Garvey, who is also a Fairlington resident. “I will kick up a fuss if there really is a problem for some folks who do not have the parking that they need.”
The Fairlington farmers market will be the ninth farmers market in Arlington. It is expected to open in April 2015.