Each Sunday, as many as 10,000 people head to the Hollywood Farmers Market to buy fresh produce and flowers, but organizers say they may have to close the popular and profitable bazaar after clashing with a film school over access to its parking lot.
Last week the city denied the market a permit to close one block of Ivar Avenue to traffic after the Los Angeles Film School complained that it blocked the entrance to one of its parking garages.
Market organizers launched a petition to renew the permit, calling the Ivar corridor crucial to its survival.
At a meeting with both parties Monday, officials from the Bureau of Street Services granted the market a one-month permit extension and suggested organizers think about relocating the displaced vendors nearby.
They proposed moving part of the market either to Morningside Court, a narrow street parallel to Ivar; to a nearby Urban Outfitters parking lot located off Ivar; or to a stretch of Ivar north of Hollywood Boulevard.
Those alternatives were rejected by Pompea Smith, who heads the nonprofit that organizes the market.
"It's difficult to move a large market," said Smith, who said the other locations were not viable. "We want to remain where we are."
Board of Public Works Commissioner Andrea Alarcon said the Bureau of Street Services had tried unsuccessfully for the last month to mediate between the market and the school.
"Unfortunately, those conversations were not fruitful," she said. "We want to help them, but neither party decided to budge, so there isn't much we can do."
The dispute -- and the threat of the market's closure -- put patrons and vendors in a panic Sunday.
"Have you heard?" shoppers asked one another. "They're closing the market! This is the last week!"
Jason Zelin, a neighborhood resident who walks to the market each week to buy fruit and flowers, said market organizers were circulating their petition, and some shoppers spoke of picketing.
"There were so many who were just outraged," Zelin said. "You can't tell the market to move to another street."
He said it would be like kicking the annual Christmas parade off Hollywood Boulevard.
The Hollywood Farmers Market has occupied a stretch of Selma and Ivar avenues in the heart of Hollywood since 1991. In recent years, as developers have moved into the area, parking has become a major issue.
Last year, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring farmers markets that block off city streets to pay for the costs associated with closing them, including traffic barriers and traffic officers. They also changed the permitting process, requiring markets to obtain letters of support from neighbors and nearby businesses.
When Hollywood market organizers approached the L.A. Film School earlier this year, school officials refused to sign.
According to Antoine Ibrahim, a school spokesman, the student body has doubled in the last year -- and so has demand for parking.
"We've coexisted with them for a long time," Ibrahim said. "But it's critical that our students and teachers have access to our parking lot seven days a week." The school has another parking lot in the area.
He suggested the market modify its footprint.
"Our school looks forward to working with the market and the city to find an amicable solution," he said.
Vendor Jimmy Williams, who sells a wide array of plants that he grows in a nursery in Silver Lake, said he also hoped for a compromise that would allow the vendors to keep selling.
"It's our livelihood," he said.