While plans for a farmers’ market on Beacon Hill were largely applauded in theory during a presentation at Hill House on Wednesday, its proposed location at Mt. Vernon and Charles streets gave some would-be neighbors reason for concern.
Colin Kreik, a Beacon Hill resident and Boston Architectural College student who would serve as general manager, planner and public-relations specialist for the Beacon Hill Farmers’ Market, and Casey Fox, a Boston resident who would serve as its general manager and financial planner, outlined their proposal to close off a block of Mt. Vernon Street between Charles and River streets to accommodate the open-air market. Its proposed hours of operation would be from 8 or 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays, between May or June and November to allow for a three-season rotation of produce. The market site would provide space for between 27 and 35 vendors in 27 tents situated adjacent to the curb in visitor parking spaces along the north side of Mt. Vernon Street.
Kreik said the proposal entails closing one traffic lane on Mt. Vernon Street to accommodate the market, while the southern-bound lane heading east towards Charles Street would remain open to vehicles.
Several neighbors thoughted that they would have to drive lengthy and circuitous routes to reach their homes due to traffic diversions for the market.
Kreik responded that the “impact on existing traffic patterns would be minimal,” since he said affected drivers could conveniently use alternate routes to reach their destinations.
Steve Young, chairman of the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) board of directors, lauded the concept, but expressed concern regarding the market’s proposed location and potential impact on nearby residents.
“If you decide to move forward, there is a process that should require you to return to the community,” Young said. “This would give others impacted but not in attendance tonight a chance to comment.”
Other concerns cited by those in attendance include the potential impacts on noise and parking, as well as the issue of waste removal.
Kreik indicated that he would be willing to scale back the proposal in accordance with neighbors’ concerns by eliminating a plan for live music, limiting the hours of operation and holding the market every two weeks, among other concessions.
Still, some in attendance recommended relocating the market to another location in the neighborhood, such as beneath the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge or inside the Boston Common.
Kreik responded that other sites had been considered for the market, including the parking lot adjacent to Savenor’s Market on Charles Street, but that the current proposal is only for the Mt. Vernon Street location.
“As far as looking at another location, we just don’t have time for it at this point,” Kreik said. “If the general sense is that people want a different location, unfortunately, this is not the year for our group.”