Making Lemonade, and changing history

A letter to my closest constituents;
morning  all,

its amazing how things work out sometimes.

when life gives you lemons….make lemonade,
and don’t be surprised if you end up changing the course of history along the way.

last night was the largest and most intense L&P oversight meeting yet. there were several new representatives for the artisans making public comment, as well as a special visit by a city councilman to offer his insight (longer terms, larger space, streamlined oversight, etc.) on the current state of the quickly amending TVL city ordinance draft 2017.

I don’t have time to get into all the specifics as the meeting went well past 2 hours. I will be following up with more detail in a Revival update. But here are the main points.
The draft will be definitely going to the floor of the city council on tuesday evening, but at this time, its anyones guess as to whether or not there will be a vote, or more debate. I can tell you right now, that there may be some fireworks between the author of the draft (Jared Eigerman) and the license and permit oversight committee (Devlin, Earls, Vogel). The l&P oversight is in full support of the artisan designation, as well as amendments regarding renewal, terms, compliance, and others. There may have been up to six amendments entered by the committee, with the most significant one offered by the co-author of the draft, Joe Devlin, who supports the increase to two artisan designation to offset the two current food TVL. If this happens, there will be four Inn St licenses available next year. These amendments are , at this time, being proposed without the approval of Jared Eigerman, who may challenge the amendments during debate on the floor. 
There is even an opportunity for more artisan designation TVL available for Inn St, and other parts of the city down the road.
Needless to say, that just over the course of the last couple weeks, we are looking at not only the core foundation for an Inn St market, but perhaps a foundation for a city artisans market somewhere in newburyport relatively soon.
And it started right here. You all should be very proud of yourselves. You changed something, something that will soon become part of Newburyport’s bylaws…forever.
I hope that whatever scars were created through this process will heal over time. I am sorry if I have contributed to these wounds, I know I’m not the easiest person to work with. But even though this process may have seemed to happen quickly, all know that it has taken years…..and a toll. And all good things that are created to change things,…. have to be earned. And that process is not always easy.
But remember, that someday…..a young artisan will be down on Inn Street, and he will want to know how his right and privilege to be there was created preserved. And this quest to fulfill one’s promise to a creative soul,…will eventually lead to you, and what we have done here,..together.
History is in the making, and with this TVL artisan designation, we are truly creating an Artisans Revival…and don’t ever forget it.
I will be setting up in my new location on Inn St this weekend. Another interesting part about all this is, due to having to be forced out of my old spot due to rebricking for new bistro patio seating, I have presented a similar proposal to the L&P for a ‘site adoption’ at my new location and will be meeting with the parks and recreation committee (with blessings of the L&P) for permission to implement a garden tree bed while re-bricking the area around the tree and cart.
Another development that really blew me away last night was the realization that there has been another license available this year all along. if someone has told you that there was no license available, they outright lied to you.
An artisan showed up last night in full support of the artisan designation TVL because he had just applied for a license and was beaten out by a hotdog vendor from NH!!!! do you believe it??? Talk about over the top absurdity. Even the L&P oversight committee was quite upset over this. But how they could have let this happen is beyond me. The very least they could have and should have done was let those that have made their voice known and requested license the opportunity to apply and be juried along with the two others this past week. I wish i could speak for everybody, but, if you feel you have been done wrong by this process, you have an opportunity to speak.
And none the more then next tuesday evening to the newburyport city council. we will be meeting once again in a side session at 6:45 with the L&P committee. At this time they will be filling us in on any amendments and procedure they will be implementing on the floor during the council meeting that begins at 7:30. ANYONE wishing to speak will be granted two minutes and you must sign up.
All of this while the city’s top politicians meets with the chamber of commerce to host the North Shore Creative economy Association on Wednesday Night, May 31st….the night after the city council vote on artisan designation for TVl.
hmmm,…very very interesting and certainly will be creating a fascinating backdrop for some blogging.
good luck this weekend. looks like mother nature will be giving us a gift. no rain.
stay tuned for more soonest….
John Brown
Spirit of Newburyport

Artisan Designation for TVL…At Last!

In a recent development during a license and permit oversight committee meeting, Artisan designation for a city’s Transient Vendor’s License has now been proposed. This is the first time in Newburyport’s history that an artisan designation for a vendor’s license has been considered. This is a milestone achievement.
Details are still being negotiated and will be posted on this blog as soon as possible. Look for a floor debate, and or vote on Tuesday evening during the city’s next city council meeting.
Stay tuned for more details shortly.
Dear Members of the Committee on Licenses & Permits:
Again, I apologize for having to miss your meeting, tomorrow evening.  I would like to propose the following two changes from the April 8 draft:
  • Up to three (3) licenses in Inn Street, provided that … at least one (1) such license shall be made available solely to vendors of art, crafts, or other artisanal wares, merchandise, or goods, to the exclusion of any food or beverages.”
  • I added Councillor Devlin as a co-sponsor.
Because you haven’t met yet, I realize that the April 8 version is the one that will go into the City Council packet, today.  However, I do intend to make this as a floor amendment on May 30.
​Thank you for your consideration.​

Section 9-114
 No more than a total of three (3) full-season licenses, or their equivalent in cumulative duration, at Inn Street, Inn Street Playground (Map 004-Lot 002), and Inn Street Mall (Map 004-Lot 030 [portion]), provided that: (i) at least one (1) such license shall be made available solely to vendors of art, crafts, or other artisanal wares, merchandise, or goods, to the exclusion of any food or beverages, and (ii) no such license shall allow vending in, from, or by means of a parked vehicle or Food Truck.

4 Artist Take A Stand

Dear Friends of the Revival,
I have some wonderful and very important news.

Last night, two fine artist, one musician, and one culinary artist showed up to voice their public comments and opposition to the final draft of the city’s Transient Vendors Licensing.

By the time we walked out, the License and Permit oversight committee agreed to postpone the final vote in the City Council that would have EXCLUDED the proposed eight new seasonal Licenses from the Downtown Overlay District (D.O.D.), and open up the process for renewed discussion and proposals to INCLUDE them into the D.O.D as ‘designated artisan spaces’,…and even better, specifically Inn Street. This means that finally, after many years, the License and Permit Committee and some City Council members have officially moved to support an Inn Street Artisans Market of some form, specifically, Councilman Bruce Vogel, Gregory Earls, and Joseph Devlin.

It was also confirmed to me personally, prior to the meeting by Ward 2 councillor Jared Eigerman in writing, that the city plans on moving forward in the direction of applying the principles that were laid down in the Inn Street Artisans Revival when it comes to the festivals, favoring vendor Inclusion.

They will be listening more to some of these principles that were applied to the Revival such as ‘non linear’ set ups by vendors in order for retailers to have clearer access to the storefronts, while encouraging them to participate more in sidewalk displays, and allowing for more free flow of traffic in and around vendors. I also have heard from retailers that are upset that the vendors during the festivals (contrary to the festival petition) don’t come further down Pleasant Street as well. By having the type of set ups that are not just a linear ‘wall of tents’ that make it harder to access certain stores, you benefit the stores that are upset for the opposite reasons that some are rejecting them in the festival petition, by spacing the vendors (or forming clusters), thus covering more area. Win Win.

They will be seeking further input from all involved, as well as the artisans, and plan on watching and paying more attention to the Inn Street Revival this year. I plan on rallying for more support, discussion and input amongst my colleagues to continue to hold them accountable to these proposals and ongoing discussions.

In my opinion, the ridiculousness of such suggestions presented in the ‘festival petition’ co-authored by Claudia Harris of the Elephant Trunk is obvious to most with common sense. From all accounts, the notion to exclude vendors and festivals from downtown is being met with absurdity, while their arguments run contrary to the facts.

Personally, I believe they have hung themselves by exposing the real reasons why the downtown business model is failing and being manipulated by New England Development. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the festivals. Maybe they should take a closer look at their business model that includes high rents, reluctance to local unique, and creative diversified merchants that residents and visitors of Newburyport have come to love,…..and expect.

An Artisan Market group is now being formed.

If you are an artisan interested in contributing to this process I urge you to contact me.

Best Regards,

John William Brown
Spirit of Newburyport
42B Federal Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival

Inn Street Artisans Revival – Facebook
Newburyport Daily News; Yankee Homecoming Planning its 60th Year
Newburyport Daily News – Home Grown Festival
Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events
Artisan Revival Library Presentation

Transient License Status, Vendor Petition


This email is being sent Bcc to all who attended the first public meeting regarding transient vendor licenses.

After a very long time and through several iterations, the License & Permits Committee is ready to present a final draft to the full council for vote on Monday, May 8th.

Along the way we received much input from several councilors and especially from Ward 2 Councillor Eigerman who represents the downtown district.

Prior to the council meeting on the 8th, the L&P committee will meet for discussion and further input from any and all. Our committee meeting is posted for 6:30 on the 8th, in council chambers.

Attached is the version we will be offering to the floor for vote and will be discussing prior to the meeting.

Certainly, if you have questions or comments, please email or call us – we are at your service.


Bruce Vogel

Chair, L&P Committee

Bruce L. Vogel

Newburyport City Councilor At Large


Dear Gentlemen,
Thank you for forwarding this latest information regarding the status of the Transient Vendors licensing and your work with the latest draft of the city ordinance.
I have also just become aware of the issues expressed in this Daily News article of April 26th.
Merchants: Big festivals hurt small businesses in Newburyport
Some Port retailers suggest moving major events to Bartlet Mall or elsewhere
  • By Dyke Hendrickson Staff Writer
  • Apr 26, 2017
As you know, I am a current Transient Vendor license holder on Inn Street going on my eighth season now. I have been very much involved throughout this process, especially last year leading up to the Inn Street Artisans Revival, as well as addressing the concerns of brick and mortar business, which I did right here on this email thread.
Above and beyond any questions and input I may have on this subject at the moment, I now see that there is going to be a lot more discussion on this subject way beyond just Monday. But before then, and for right now, I felt it best to present this video, one of MANY (Including an interview from the Elephant’s Trunk and other residents and participants of Yankee Homecoming) I did last year regarding the Inn Street Artisans Revival, which is scheduled to take place this year as well. This is not DIRECTLY tied to the TL city ordinance, but, yet it is,…and certainly has ties to it in the long run.
Ester Sayer – Inn Street Brick n Mortar business Owner
and member of Inn Street Restoration project
Speaking about the Inn Street Artisans Revival 2016
As you can see here. I believe there is a win/win and a happy medium for ALL in regards to not only the TL, but the issues that retailers are having with the vending booths during festivals.
I, and others, will be following up this input with our own questions regarding the changes and current status of the TL city ordinance, as well as seeking to contribute our input to the council on Monday evening in benefit for all involved as well as the city as a whole.

Best Regards,

John William Brown
Spirit of Newburyport
42B Federal Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival

Inn Street Artisans Revival – Facebook
Newburyport Daily News; Yankee Homecoming Planning its 60th Year
Newburyport Daily News – Home Grown Festival
Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events
Artisan Revival Library Presentation