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Farmers Market Could Move Into Former Blockbuster

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – A farmers market just jumped another hurdle on its way to finding a location at the former Blockbuster video in the Van Wyck Shopping Center. Village planning board members recommended the village board grant the market a special permit, with some extenuating clauses.

The planning board was divided over the recommendation, voting 3-2 for the village board to issue a special permit for the location. Some members were concerned about an already tight parking situation and competition with neighboring Zeytinia.

“It seems like almost anyone who goes in there is going to have a tough time parking,” said Robert Luntz, chairperson of the planning board. The market would operate Saturday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Competition with Zeytinia was another concern of the planning board. “The competition with Zeytinia is an issue, but even that aside,” said Bruce Kauderer, about parking and competition concerns.

Community Markets indoor winter farmers market was held at the Briarcliff Congregational Church for the last three years. Miriam Haas, director of Community Markets, said the village abruptly decided it did not want a commercial enterprise in a residential area, prompting the company to go on a last minute search for an indoor location.

The Briarcliff market served customers from Ossining, Pleasantville, Croton and Briarcliff, which normally have markets in the village during summer months. Haas said the markets average about 69 cars per hour, although most people only stay about 30 minutes and peak hours for the market are between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

The planning board recommended the village issue the special permit with consideration for parking, which would allow the village to withdraw the permit if parking is a “disaster,” as one member said.

The farmers market is currently being held in Croton Train Station Parking Lot A, Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Haas said customers at this location will dwindle if there is adverse weather.

The long-vacant Wondrous Things location in the upper village was offered as an alternative to the former Blockbuster location, but Haas said, “That was way out of our budget.” She also said the location’s owners were hard to contact. The commercial space has become a sore spot for village officials.

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