Greig farmers’ market files for special permit

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The Hudson Valley Farmers Market has filed for the necessary special permit for its weekly Saturday market operation at Greig Farms on Pitcher Lane, following the cease-and-desist order issued Dec. 21 by Red Hook Zoning Enforcement Officer Bob Fennell.

Norm Greig and attorney Burt Lansky appeared before the Red Hook Planning Board on Feb. 4 to discuss their application for a special permit, even though Greig has ignored the ZEO order and kept the market open.

The HVFM opened on Dec. 1 without acquiring the necessary permit from the town in what Greig suggested to The Observer was an attempt to open a dialog with the town about zoning he considers unfair.

During the latest meeting, Lansky and Greig argued repeatedly and unsuccessfully that the planning board should disregard the zoning laws governing farmers’ markets, claiming prior and ongoing use of the property in that manner. Eventually the applicants and planning board began the special permit process and site plan review required by town code.

Planning board chair Christine Kane explained the process.

“I don’t think anybody is arguing that it’s not an allowed use and that we don’t want to see it there,” Kane said. “The ZEO cited the law and said, to do what you’re doing you have to have a special permit… there has to be site plan review… where’s the parking, where’s the ingress and egress, what types of bathrooms are you having?”

After some discussion about the location and number of parking spaces, handicapped access, bathrooms and other requirements at the site, the board agreed that the project would require only limited site plan review and scheduled a public hearing for March 18, which is the next meeting Greig is able to attend.
“A farmers’ market is a movable feast,” Greig said. “It’s like a harvest event.”

The market remains open Saturdays, 10am-3pm, during the permitting process.

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