Cambria Pines Lodge wants to triple size of Christmas market

Seasonal market drew far more visitors than expected

ktanner@thetribunenews.comAugust 15, 2013 

Visitors enter a German-style Christmas market at Cambria Pines Lodge in November, complete with a light display, artisan shopping, food and live holiday music. Donna Hoppe of Cambria gazes up at the lighted 'tunnel' which greets visitors to the new Christmas Market.

LAURA DICKINSON — ldickinson@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The North Coast Advisory Council plans to discuss on Wednesday, Aug. 21, but not yet vote on, a permit application for an updated version of a plan to add a 50-booth commercial market to the Cambria Pines Lodge property during the Christmas season.

The council’s vote on the matter is due at the Sept. 18 NCAC meeting, Chairwoman Claudia Harmon Worthen said in an email early Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The council has discussed the original version of that plan twice before, recommending it once to county Supervisor Bruce Gibson and the Planning Department, and not recommending it the second time, mostly because it was an “after-the-fact” permit request — the temporary structures had already been built and were in use during the 2012 season.

Among other concerns discussed then were the bright lighting glow from the event and worries about the increased traffic as people drove past or to the site and then tried to find a place to park.

Work at the site has concerned some members of the council’s Land Use Committee, members of which are to visit the site officially later this month.

A county code-enforcement agent did an inspection Monday, Aug. 12, and “reported that the activities did not appear to require construction permits, therefore no violations were cited, but that all work should cease until the minor-use permit had been fully processed,” according to Xzandrea Fowler, a county environmental planner. “The contractor, property owner and agent have been informed that all construction activities need to stop immediately.”

The current iteration of the plan includes 50 temporary retail sites, a limit set by the county, according to architect Gary Swauger. The original market had 18 sites.

Other additions were made to the project, some of which have been removed recently, Swauger said Tuesday, Aug. 13. For instance, the expanded plan to use the market site three times a year has been pared back down to the original once-a-year event to be held from Thanksgiving through the Christmas season.

Swauger said that last year’s market drew close to 1,000 people a night, rather than the anticipated 200. “It was more successful than anyone anticipated it would be,” he said during a phone interview.”

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Rabobank, 1070 Main St.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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