The Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market has passed a major hurdle to open this spring, winning a zoning permit Monday that will allow it to relocate to a Spring Street location.
With that permit from Coventry’s Planning and Zoning Commission in hand, leaders of the farmers’ market will ask the State Traffic Commission today to review their proposal to determine if the new site needs that agency’s permission before it can relocate and open.
“So, while we are not out of the woods yet, last night's good news was a huge step forward toward the market's future in Coventry … and an opening day of June 3,” said Winter Caplanson, the market’s director.
The market, she added, is hoping to be able to construct at that new location an $80,000 post and beam barn it was awarded last year by the American Farmland Trust.
The award-winning market, which operates from May to October and attracts some 75,000 patrons each year, is under a time crunch to get a new site approved in time to open this year. The group for the past four years had operated at the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, but began looking for a new site after negotiations on its lease at the Hale Homestead, owned by Connecticut Landmarks, LLC, fell through last year.
Market leaders, Caplanson said, are hoping the state traffic agency will not require a full-blown study of the proposed Spring Street site, a process that could take many weeks and derail the market’s plans to open this spring.
The group is hoping to complete the permitting process by the end of this month so it can begin sending out new applications to the dozens of vendors from around the state who take part in the weekly market.
Caplanson and other market leaders have been looking at other potential sites in the event the Spring Street location does not come together in time. Some of those sites include the Hebron Fairgrounds, Jillson Square in Willimantic and the Zagray Farm Museum in Colchester, according to a published report.