Popular Farmers Market Gets Kicked Off Lowe’s YMCA Grounds
A popular Lake Norman Farmer’s Market will soon no longer exist, at least at its current location next to the Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville.
Josh’s Farmers Market is due to pack its pumpkins and 2 acres of fresh vegetables and other selections at the end of the month, a spokeswoman for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte told the Charlotte Observer on Sunday.
Halloween will be the last day of the market, spokeswoman Heather Briganti said in an email.
Mooresville issued daily fines to the Lowe’s YMCA because the city views Josh’s as a “full-time retail establishment,” not an “outdoor seasonal retail market,” city officials said in a statement. a press release posted on Facebook, NextDoor and other platforms on Saturday. .
And that means Josh must operate out of a building, like the other 1,800 retailers in town, according to the press release.
An “understanding” that Josh will leave the site was reached at a recent meeting involving Y, the town of Mooresville and market officials, according to the YMCA statement on Sunday.
“The YMCA is committed to complying with the requirements of the City of Mooresville and to continuing to serve the community of Mooresville and its residents,” Y officials said in the statement.
Josh disagrees with the discovery of the city
The market is challenging how the city classifies its operation and is appealing the fines, said Garrett Deweese, brother-in-law of market owner Josh Graham.
Graham was 10 when he, his brother and grandfather started selling produce from wheelbarrows in 1990 along nearby Williamson Road, Deweese said.
All market produce is seasonal, Deweese told the Charlotte Observer at the market on Saturday, local and homegrown vegetables and other offerings.
Josh at the same time is not the whole year, he said.
Road widening forced displacement
The market spans 1 1/2 to 2 acres next to the Lowe’s YMCA, which left the market to operate on its grounds after the market was forced from its longtime perch on Williamson Road. The city’s widening of the traffic-choked road from Lake Norman displaced a multitude of businesses.
Josh’s has a “user agreement” with the Lowe’s YMCA, which means the market takes full legal responsibility for anything that happens in the market, Deweese said. That includes paying to appeal fines the city imposed on Lowe’s YMCA as the owner, he said.
The city says the market has grown over the years “from a temporary produce stand to a full-fledged retailer” that even sells furniture and outdoor storage equipment and buildings. It therefore needs a “permanent retail facility,” according to Saturday’s statement.
The market has nowhere else to go right now, Deweese said.
As of Oct. 6, the YMCA had racked up $1,500 in fines, according to Mooresville director of community planning and development Danny Wilson.
“Currently the fines have been suspended as the violation notice has been appealed by Josh’s Farmers Market,” Wilson said in a statement to the Observer on Saturday.
The Mooresville Board of Adjustment will hear the appeal at an upcoming meeting, Wilson said.
“City staff have met with the YMCA and Josh’s Farmers Market numerous times over the past few months with the goal of resolving outstanding violations before fines are issued,” according to Wilson’s statement.
“Unfortunately, the property has not been brought into compliance with city ordinances,” he said.
In Saturday’s press release, officials said the city “is proud of the partnerships we have with the approximately 1,800 businesses that call Mooresville home. We hope Josh’s Farmers Market can continue to serve Mooresville residents and visitors under the same guidelines that govern other businesses in our community.
What started as a fine of $100 a day for each of 14 violations will increase to $500 a day per violation on Nov. 7, Deweese said.
All violations, like the one issued for unloading a truck, are related to Josh not being in a building, he said.
The city has been working with Josh since 2020 to find a site on which to construct a building, the two parties say.
Josh thought he had the perfect site, 4 acres the market bought on a nearby road, Deweese said. But a required traffic study revealed potential traffic issues with a necessary road exit and entrance, he said.
Selling local — and outdoor — produce reflects the Y’s mission to create a healthy mind, spirit and body, Deweese said.
“I think it’s the community aspect that we offer,” Deweese said of the market’s important role for the public, “and the health and wellness aspect of bringing fresh produce to the community.” .
This story was originally published October 16, 2022 11:58 a.m.