Town staff gives elected officials the finger

Mooresville commissioners continue asking town staff to find a solution for Josh’s Farmers Market, and town staff keeps giving commissioners the finger.

The latest episode in the town’s months-long targeting of Josh’s Farmers Market (JFM) occurred before the market was even open at its new location. Since last year, the town has gone out of its way to make it increasingly more difficult for the longtime local business to stay in operation. 

The latest: Based on timestamps on photos attached to a “notice of violation” that the town sent to the property owner at 630 Brawley School Road, where Josh’s Farmers Market is currently operating, Mooresville Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Saunders was waiting in a nearby parking lot, snapping photos of “violations” the day before the market was even open. Interestingly, according to the time stamps, Saunders was stalking the market from the parking lot of the Mooresville Public Library West Branch during the same hour as a surprise (to JFM) visit from a state inspector who reported to be responding to a complaint against the market.

Photo: Mooresville Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Saunders’ time-stamped surveillance footage of the farmers market.

This was the first-ever visit from N.C. Department of Agriculture inspectors to the 30-year-old market. The inspection, prompted by a complaint that JFM is selling “illegal products” (specifically meat and/or eggs), resulted in no violations against the market.

The town, however, issued a violation to the Brawley School Road landowner for JFM having “furniture of wooden construction” on the property.

While the letter to the landowner states Saunders’ inspection of the market took place on June 2, the photos’ timestamps show the inspection date was June 1 — the day before the market even opened. Additionally, any “furniture of wooden construction,” does not have price tags, is not for sale and is intended for customer use while shopping, according to market staff. 

With apparently nothing substantive to work with after the first town inspection (and one from the state), the town’s Saunders drove past the market on June 5, snapping photos from her vehicle across the road. She cited the market for “grading” issues — “issues” that were already in existence during her June 1 visit but apparently didn’t warrant Saunders’ attention at that time. 

Photos compliments of Mooresville Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Saunders.

Essentially, the property owner will be cited because the market scraped dirt in the parking lot and put gravel on areas that were already covered in old gravel.

That activity is a violation of town ordinances, according to Saunders, falling under: “Excavate, grade, cut, clear, or undertake any land disturbing activity without first obtaining all appropriate permits and permit approvals, and complying with their terms and conditions.”


10 thoughts on “Town staff gives elected officials the finger

  1. Gravel is not land. Saunders sounds like a very dishonest Town of Mooresville employee. Time for the Town to clean up its own house before working on any other houses.

  2. So landowners aren’t allowed to keep their property neat and updated without permits, or am I reading this the wrong way? SMH, that’s insane. Too much governmental involvement.

  3. Interesting since the ToM allowed MGSD to do exactly what they are saying is a violation. The zoned residential house behind my lot was allowed to be spot zoned and turned into an office and backyard a complete parking lot for the construction at Park View School. According to Danny Wilson and the Planning Department this parking lot & spot zoning was only temporary for MGSD and the owner would take it back to residential and remove the parking lot. Well it has been almost a year since the project was finished and the house is now an office with a now hiring sign in the front yard and the gravel parking lot behind the house is a storage facility. This is all in the middle of the block on Oak Street. The ToM doesn’t bother this ordinance violation but goes after Josh’s Market…interesting.

  4. I think she was also targeting the flower stand – Once Upon a Garden – in front of the Peninsula church.

  5. JFM is an incredible asset to our community and the town needs to back off and Rebecca Saunders needs to go! This has been going on too long and I’m all for starting a “go fund me” so Josh can sue for harassment!! I know many folks who would donate generously!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Author

Hi! I’m Jaime

I was a newspaper reporter in Mooresville, NC for a decade and covered local government issues from 2003 to 2006.