Disagreements continue between neighboring businesses there

Kim Tookey could not be happier with her new shop Penny Lane, tucked toward the back of the historic Village Lane walkway. She opened her doors on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Kim Tookey in her recently opened Penny Lane vintage clothes emporium for women in the historic Village Lane.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Her shop features vintage clothing for women. It has a warm and colorful vibe with Beatles music playing in the background. A San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena resident for many years, Tookey has a current home in Banning while her daughter is a freshman in the Creative Writing program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She is upbeat and positive, and will be a personal presence in her shop.

Currently, Penny Lane is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday to Monday.  Tookey loves the cozy environment of the lane. “I’m happy with all the neighbors on the Lane,” she said. “Paul [White, lane manager] has been very helpful. He’s an outstanding citizen.”

An ongoing disagreement over use of “public” walkway space still has two lane owners seeing the future differently, however. Marc Peterman and Julia Meadows’ lead store, the Sub Rosa Apothecary, is visible from the street and presents a colorful and inviting look. Inside the Sub Rosa Apothecary, Peterman and Meadows market their line of Aromax Health products, muscle relief gels developed by Meadows 30 years ago for senior PGA golfers. “It’s our own brand,” said Peterman.

They also carry a very large assortment of essential oils, used in a variety of healing modalities. Peterman and Meadows have three shops in the lane, and in one, free massage is available for first-time visitors.

Marc Peterman in his Sub Rosa Apothecary in Village Lane indicating one of his and Julia Meadows’ unique brands, Aromax, developed over 30 years ago by Meadows for senior PGA players. Photo by Marshall Smith

On a recent visit, the Apothecary was full of visitors on a late Sunday afternoon, as were many of the stores in the lane. Shop owners noted that business was good but did not want to comment on disagreements between other tenants.

The disagreement between Meadows, Peterman and Paul and Katie White of Idyllwild Bake and Brew comes down to use of what Peterman calls public space.

The wooden walkway has little nooks and areas that make visiting the space all the more quaint.

Peterman and Meadows contend that White’s use of parts of the walkway, including a corner area across which White erected a lattice barrier for privacy for his diners, constitutes a “taking” of public space to which Peterman’s customers can no longer have access.

White has county-approved plans that specifically outline a 5-foot space allowance from his shop’s exterior walls for use by his diners. Within that 5 feet, White installed planter boxes to keep patrons from moving tables into the walkway and restricting pedestrian passage. White said the area across which he erected the lattice work barrier was also within his 5-foot allowance.

He said the only reason he erected the see-through barrier was that Meadows and Peterman allegedly made rude and negative comments to his restaurant customers while they were sitting outside and eating.

Meadows and Peterman are awaiting Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington’s staff investigation of White’s county permit process to determine if everything was done appropriately — and if, in fact, county determinations regarding White’s permitted use of “public” space on the lane were correct.

The current flash point between the two neighboring tenants is the latticed area that Peterman regards as a blemish on the charm and character of the lane, and a use of space previously available to Peterman’s customers. Said Peterman, “This is never going to work with us until that chicken coop monstrosity is removed.”

When White was asked if the lattice was temporary or permanent, he said, “As long as they’re in their shop, it will be there because of their rudeness to our customers.”

But even with this standoff and neighbor disagreements, on a Sunday evening, Village Lane shops were busy, music was playing and customers were smiling.