Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Local gov’t puts flea market improvements on hold

The Pasco Flea Market in Pasco, Wash., is seeking to improve its facilities, but it is being hindered by Pasco city officials. Market owners Bill and Sheree Robinson are trying to improve access to the market’s grounds by moving a driveway, which would consist of an asphalt entryway and a new 1,200-ft.-long gravel road, in an effort to fix a traffic bottleneck. “I have a congestion problem,” says Bill Robinson. “Traffic lines up for hundreds of cars trying to get in on Sundays. I’ve been served by code enforcement saying I have to do something to solve it, so I’m trying.”

“Right now the in and out driveways share the same space, and I’m trying to move the in to create circular flow. I’m not trying to add anything. I’m just trying to move an existing driveway over 300 feet,” he says. “That’s all I’m trying to do, and I’ve been working on it for over a year.”

An Oct. 15 screen grab of a City of Pasco online status report listing the flea market driveway application as "ON HOLD."

He has hired an engineer, a lawyer, and an architect. “I hired people to do it for me, and they keep rolling their eyes and saying, ‘I’ve never seen it so difficult to get something done.’ Somebody in the system doesn’t want it to happen,” says Robinson. “I spent a quarter of a million dollars buying land so that I can make this stuff happen, and the City of Pasco doesn’t want it to happen, so it just stalls and stalls and stalls. The regulatory barriers are just atrocious. The City of Pasco is just — I don’t think they want it to happen, so they are trying to stall every bit they can.”

There is no community opposition to the project, says Robinson. “There’s not even one angry neighbor,” he says. So what is the problem? “I wish I could figure that part out. I’d solve it.”

The outdoor market, which attracts 350 vendors and 4,000 to 6,000 shoppers weekly from March 1 through Dec. 1, has been growing over the last ten years, according to a news report from TV station KNDU. The current expansion is just for an entranceway and road, but the market is considering adding a new parking lot later on, per the KNDU report.

From online documents available from the City of Pasco, it is clear that the city put the project — Permit # B10-1812 — on hold on Sept. 30 with a request for more information. The market’s engineer responded in detail on Oct. 1, but the project was still reported online as “on hold” on Oct. 15. The danger in a delayed response was spelled out in the market engineer’s letter to the city, which read, in part, “Please help Mr. Robinson get this project back on track and ready for construction this fall before the asphalt plants shut down for the season.” FleaMarketZone has not yet received any response from the city to telephone and e-mail inquiries.

A part of the letter the City of Pasco sent the Pasco Flea Market placing the driveway project on hold.

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