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Valley Focus | Studio City

Farmers Market to Open in September

July 01, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

Despite objections from several merchants, a farmers market on Ventura Place is scheduled to debut Sept. 20, officials announced this week.

The market will operate on Sundays on Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon and Ventura boulevards from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Tony Lucente, president of the Studio City Residents Assn. and a member of the committee.

But 20 business owners who signed a petition in May informing the City Council of their concerns may take legal action to halt the market because of a potential loss of customers, said merchants' spokeswoman Ellen Hall, owner of Ellen's Blue Ribbon Grooming.

"The big thing here is that we asked people not to sell any competitive merchandise," Hall said. "Now they're trying to go back on this. I don't want my customers to say I can wait till Sunday and get things at a cheaper price."

A representative from the office of Councilman Joel Wachs, who proposed the farmers market, said it should not compete with established businesses.

"The goal of the farmers market is to complement the businesses, not to compete," said Tom Henry, Wachs' planning deputy.

Farmers markets usually sell produce, food products and sometimes flowers and plants, and therefore pose no threat to area merchants, Henry said.

Business owners and market supporters worked out other concerns such as the street closures and parking, Lucente said.

The Sunday hours reduce the chance that businesses will be impacted by the Ventura Place closure, Lucente said. Parking will be provided in a 100-space lot next to Home Savings of America on Ventura Boulevard, and CBS Studios has agreed to handle some of the potential overflow.

"I attribute any perceived delay we had in the project as due to diligence," Lucente said. "This is a big undertaking and you have to make sure all the I's are dotted and T's crossed."

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