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.
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.
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.”