Glade Valley residents enjoy a bucolic setting. The farms of Glade Valley bring beauty and food. Its common to find local farmers selling their produce to their neighbors.
In the past, the locations chosen for these stands became an issue for Walkersville residents. As a result, Walkersville officials created rules for roadside stands several years ago. Now, such stands can only be located on properites zoned Agricultural or Commercial with permission from the Planning Commission after meeting some requirements. Here is the text from the Walkersville Town Code:
Seasonal shaved ice, ice cream, produce or
other food stand located as a principal or
accessory use to on a lot in a commercial
district, provided the following:
(a) Adequate off-street parking, on-site traffic
circulation and access from a public street
is provided, as determined by the Planning
(b) A minimum of six off-street parking spaces
(c) Parking areas are stabilized with
pavement, gravel or crushed stone, as
determined by the Planning Commission.
(d) Parking spaces and drive aisles on site are
striped or otherwise marked, as determined
by the Planning Commission.
(e) Proof of Health Department approval for
food sales is submitted.
(f) Adequate trash receptacles and sanitary
facilities are provided on site, as
determined by the Planning Commission.
(g) The stand is operated for no more than six
consecutive months in any twelve month
(h) Sales shall be limited to seasonal or
perishable produce or food items, including
flowers and plants.
(i) The use shall be set back from any
residential zoning district a minimum of fifty
feet. The use shall be subject to property
line setbacks for the zoning district in which
it is located.
(j) One sign up to 32 square feet in size is
Several roadside produce stands regularly set-up around Walkersville. Almost all of them violate the above mentioned portion of Walkersville Town Code.
- Olde Towne Jewelers’ parking lot hosts a produce stand several days each week. The property is zoned commercial, but the operator uses far more than one sign. In fact, signs line both East Frederick Street and Route 194. GladeValley.net contacted Walkersville’s Town Planner and Zoning Administrator to see if this stand had received Planning Commission approval, but has not received a response.
- Fredericktowne Baptist Church hosts a stand operated by Pleasant Hill Produce, a local farm with a field across Biggs Ford Road from the church. The farmers sell their produce every Wednesday As the property is zoned Institutional, the use for a produce stand violates Town Code.
- Calvary Assembly of Frederick hosts a produce stand every Friday and Saturday. This vendor places signs up and down both sides of Route 194 in violation of the one sign rule. This property is also zoned Institutional, which cannot host a roadside stand.
- The Calvary Assembly of Frederick property recently came under scrutiny at a Planning Commission meeting for its entrance on Route 194. Many accidents have resulted from people entering and exiting the property. Some members of the Planning Commission noted that the entrance was supposed to have been moved to Stauffer Road which is signaled. The church refused to move the entrance due to costs in finishing the driveway connecting to Stauffer Road.
- Auburn Farms, Inc. operates a roadside stand from time to time on a piece of agricultural land on Nicodemus Road. This appears to be the only roadside stand in Walkersville that operates within Town Code.
Folks around the area really enjoy getting the fresh produce and supporting local farmers. Most people we interviewed supported the stands. They all seemed surprised that the stands were not legal by definition of Town Code.
Mary and her daughters were purchasing produce at the stand at Fredericktowne Baptist Church. “We love how much better everything tastes! Its fresh and we know it doesn’t have harmful chemicals all over the food,” she told us.
Rob was buying some cucumbers and tomatoes from the produce stand at Olde Towne Jewelers’ parking lot. “I stop by here all the time for fresh vegetables to make our dinners,” he said. When we discussed other stands, he wasn’t aware of any others except the one at Calvary Assembly of Frederick. He avoids that stand because “the traffic is already a nightmare down there.”
Susan Hauver, Town Planner and Zoning Administrator, explained that they’ve “treated the stands that set up and take down at the end of the day as peddlers, which falls under a different section of the Code.” The code dealing with seasonal stands “was focused on the seasonal stand that was set up more permanently on a site for a whole season where a structure or trailer was parked on the site continuously, even overnight,” Ms. Hauver continued.
She said the don’t get complaints about the sales. So, the town has not initiated any investigation.
Ms. Hauver noted that Burgess Whitmore believes that Walkersville, as an agricultural community, should not discourage agricultural activities within town.