City Council approves year-round farmers markets in Edmonds

MS Helping Hands founder Bill Brayer receives a proclamation from Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Farmers markets will be allowed year round in Edmonds on both public and private property following action by the Edmonds City Council Monday night.

The council, meeting on a Monday rather than a Tuesday to avoid a conflict with the Nov. 6 general election, unanimously approved an interim zoning ordinance that would allow farmers markets in the commercial and downtown business zones. The former zoning code only allowed for “seasonal” farmers markets.

The council also held public hearings and heard presentations on several issues, ranging from an ordinance to increase property taxes 1 percent to a policy on employee compensation for non-union employees to an ordinance to raise the city’s combined utility rate by an average of $4.19 a month. But the majority of the six councilmembers present (Diane Buckshnis was absent) agreed to delay decisions pending further review.

In addition, the council:

— listened to a proclamation read by Mayor Dave Earling that praised the work of Edmonds resident Bill Brayer, founder/CEO of multiple sclerosis support group MS Helping Hands and the Donor Closet, who recently retired. You can read the entire proclamation here.

— heard a report from City Finance Director Shawn Hunstock that the city saved $1.9 million by refinancing its general obligation bonds.

— approved the appointment of Cary Guenther to the city’s Architectural Design Board.




  1. It is not often that you meet a more dedicated person to a cause. How fortunate we are to live in the community in which Bill created MSHH and the Donor Closet.
    Thank you Bill for all your passionate work that has helped so many people.
    Congratulations on your retirement,
    Elaine Ponton

  2. It is noted in this story that Councilmember Buckshnis was absent from the meeting. A motion was made to excuse her absence. The motion passed 5 to 1 with Councilmember Johnson voting no. It was apparent from watching the meeting that some of the councilmembers were not aware of the reason for Councilmember Buckshnis’ absence. There may be a very valid reason for her absence, but how could anyone vote rationally without known the reason?

  3. Ron, had you sent me an email, you would have received an out of office message that stated I would be returning Tuesday! It also stated Go Pack Go!

    Most of you by now know my Wisconsin born husband has Packer season tickets. This game we won a lottery and were able to be on the field for warm-ups. For normal football fans this is about a once in a lifetime experience.

    I guess Ms. Johnson is not a football fan and felt for some reason the meeting couldn’t go on without me: despite the fact that I have all my budget questions in for all to look at and had been briefed by Mr Hunstock that evening while sitting in the airport.

  4. Ron, there is a good article about Councilmember absences on MRSC Insight. The article is dated October 10, 2012 and was authored by Bob Meinig.

    In the article, Mr. Meinig asks: “But what is a valid excuse for missing a regular city council meeting?

    Mr. Meinig answers his own question as follows:

    “The statutes do not say. Ideally, city and town councils will specifically identify by ordinance or in their council rules acceptable reasons for being excused from a regular council meeting. Not identifying acceptable reasons invites personally- or politically-motivated or arbitrary decisions regarding absences. Unfortunately, many city and town councils have not identified what constitutes an acceptable excuse. Acceptable reasons that councils have adopted for excusing absences include: death of a family member, family or personal illness, inclement weather, accident, scheduled vacations, and other “unusual or unforeseen circumstances” – the latter allowing for a bit of flexibility. Also, ideally, city and town councils will have a procedure for reporting and excusing absences.”

    I see the clear logic in your concept that a vote to excuse requires knowledge of the reason for the absence.

  5. Diane, as a past supporter, your above post ignores Ron’s question: What is a valid reason for a Councilmember to be absent from a meeting? Does the Council require notice and reason for the absence prior to excusing the councilmember? These questions are legitimate and deserving of your further clarification.
    Is being a football fan a valid reason for excusing a councilmember absence from the meeting? There certainly was a quorum of the Council and your absence from this meeting did not impact the quorum. So, explain why you think the council meeting couldn’t continue without your attendance and being a football fan is an appropriate reason to excuse you.

  6. Here is Ron’s question. “There may be a very valid reason for her absence, but how could anyone vote rationally without known the reason?” It looks to me like Ron was asking about the ratioinality of other council members voting if they did not know the reason and not asking about what the reason for the absence. Go Cheese Heads (except when playing Seattle).

  7. For once I find myself on Diane Buckshnis’ side. What I don’t care about the details of her trip one way or another, I do find it quite acceptable and certainly have seen other Council members miss meetings to go on personal vacation.

    Why someone would consider this unacceptable is beyond me.

  8. Did I miss something?

    “Farmers markets” is the subject. Yet not once in the 8 comments is it referred to in any related manner.

    If Ms. Johnson chose to vote against an excused absence, so what? She is fully entitled to disagree with the majority who also are fully entitled to their opinions. Again, so what?

    This Council (all members) and this Mayor have impressed me as being among the very best group of elected officials I’ve observed in my 43 years in Edmonds. Gone (almost) are the put downs, disrespectful attitudes, and chesp shots so common in the past 10 years. Lets keep it that way.

  9. Ray you bring up a good point about staying on topic. I was just about to write some thoughts based on the wording in this article that mentioned “Monday Night” I was going to use these words to talk about Dancing with the Stars and then lead to Hope
    Solos wedding. But taking your advice I will just stay on topic.

    A year around farmers market is and interesting idea. It was also given some good support in the strategic planning process. Now we need to start talking about where, indoors or out, in the bowl or in another area like, 5 corners, 99, Westgate, Perinville or just where. Should it be a private venture for profit, or should it be a public subsidized venture. How do we do it and still include moneys for the Museum.

    If ideas like the market are ever to happen then we need to start working on the full and complete discussion of location, costs, who pays, why, and who wins, and who loses.

    Ray, thanks for bringing us back to topic. But I will bet others will want to take any and all opportunity to attack individual council members, after all is is only a few months until the primaries for 3 council seats.

  10. Ray & Darrol:

    Please find something legitimate to bitch about. This story is about the entire city council meeting of Nov. 5th, of which the farmers market was only one agenda item.

  11. Ron as typical, you started the bitching aspects by bringing up Diane’s absence. Way off topic… It’s time to stop being bitter and let the Council do its business.


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