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Cars in lot crowd Farmers' Market

Hamburg's Farmers' Market opens next Saturday, and the operator is hoping the Village Board can solve a problem that has gotten worse in recent years.

Cars have been parking overnight in the municipal parking lot, taking up space that vendors use for their wares.

"It can get very intense," said Betty Newell, president of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, which runs the market.

She said parked cars disrupt the market 10 to 12 times a season.

The parking lot off Buffalo, Main and Union streets includes the municipal section near the Peace Park/Buffalo Street entrance. But the parking lot extends behind Main Street businesses, and only a section is owned by the village.

The lot allows patrons to park and visit restaurants on Main and Buffalo streets, and officials believe some leave cars parked and walk home if they have imbibed too much.

Village Administrator Donald Witkowski said the problem comes in trying to remove the vehicles Saturday mornings to make room for the Farmers' Market, because the village had no legal means to tow the cars. But he said the village attorney examined the parking code, and all the village has to do is erect the proper signs limiting parking.

"Some folks never even come to collect their car. It's a negative economic impact on the farmers and their families," Newell said. "It cuts into their space. It's not easy to set up a different way. It's really unfortunate."

The chamber has suggested banning overnight parking, or no parking from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays during the Farmers' Market, from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in November.

Newell said most of the offenders are in the village section of the parking area.

The Village Board favored some parking restrictions, and Witkowski said he plans to review the options with the board at its work session Monday.