New locations offered for Haleiwa Farmer's Market
Updated On: Apr 26 2012 01:44:00 PM HST
Officials met with representatives of the Haleiwa Farmers' Market on Thursday to discuss the final two-week extension to relocate the market as well as several new possibilities for alternative locations.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the market cannot stay its highway location after May 13.
"There was never a question if the market will continue. We have always fully supported local farmers. Our effort in finding another location is to ensure a venue where farmers and vendors can market their goods without liability," Abercrombie said. "The market's present location is forbidden by law and the state is subject to liability. For some time, we have been trying to help the Market relocate and believe a solution is at hand. We are giving the market a final two-week extension to allow relocation in an orderly fashion."
For the past three years, officials said the market has operated at a triangular area at the junction of Kamehameha Highway and Joseph P. Leong Highway, known as the Haleiwa Bypass Road.
The triangular area is part of a parcel of land which includes the entire highway, and is right next to the existing traffic on the bypass road. The Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 264-101, however, states that "vending from highways prohibited."
Transportation officials said the location of the market and the number of people it attracts create a hazard and a risk to drivers on the bypass road as well as pedestrians crossing the road to reach the market. The Honolulu Police Department, Wahiawa Station, has received complaints about traffic and safety issues at the market.
"The first thing we have to do is ensure people's safety. We will not wait for an accident to happen before taking action to protect the public. We must respect the law," said Attorney General David Louie.
Transportation officials said the highway, including the area occupied by the market, is in an agricultural district.
Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 205 generally prohibits commercial vending on agricultural lands, and only allows for "roadside stands for the sale of agricultural products grown on the premises." Officials said none of the produce or other commercial products sold at the market were grown on the premises.
The market activities also appear to violate zoning and ordinances of the City and County of Honolulu.
"The state cannot simply wave a magic wand to allow the market to stay where it is," Louie said. "It would take a complex and time consuming process to allow the type of commercial activity engaged in by the market."
Over the last few months, officials said several locations have been suggested for the market by the state and various community members, including the Waialua Sugar Mill, city parks, and local schools. These suggestions were never accepted.
Other alternative locations were suggested Thursday, which included the Liliuokalani Protestant Church, located in the heart of Haleiwa at the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Emerson Road.
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