In a major case of "what a difference a week makes," the City Council on Tuesday voted to lift most of the restrictions it had placed last week on the Attleboro Farmers Market. In response to the decision, market organizers backed off their earlier statement that the weekly event might not take place this year in Attleboro.
Among the changes approved on Tuesday, the market will not have to hire police detail unless the police chief determined it was needed. Also, most of the parking restrictions on market patrons for the 74 North Main Street municipal lot next to the library were removed.
The two related measures (one regarding the summer months and the other regarding the fall months) were approved by votes of 9-2 (Peter Blais and Jeremy Denlea opposed) and 8-3 (Blais, Denlea and Sara-Lynn Reynolds opposed). Discussion and debate lasted more than three hours.
"We are really pleased," said Eddie Porreca, vendor coordinator for the farmers market, after the meeting. "This was an example of democracy in action. The system worked."
Linda Binns, acting chair of the Library Board of Trustees, did not share Porreca's enthusiasm.
"[The council] threw us under the bus," she said. "We tried our best to approach this with dignity and it didn't work."
Binns said she feared the approved measures would create a safety risk. However, she said the library would manage to co-exist with the market when it takes place on Saturdays from June to October (with no market taking place on the Saturday of the library bookfair).
Porreca said, as they did last year, organizers would offer library officials a tent and table to promote their events and do whatever else they wanted during the market.
The market issue was back on the agenda because Councilor Jonathan Weydt had filed a motion the day after last Tuesday's meeting for the council to reconsider its decision on the restrictions.