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Brighton Grassroots, Whole Foods will finally collide in courtroom

Brighton Grassroots, Whole Foods will finally collide in courtroom

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Construction is well underway on the new Whole Foods plaza off Monroe Avenue in Brighton, but now opponents challenging the size and scope of the project will get their day in court — six years after first raising opposition.

State Supreme Court Justice J. Scott Odorisi this morning granted a request for trial by Brighton Grassroots, LLC, Save Monroe Ave., Inc. and the Clover/Allen’s Creek Neighborhood Association LLC.

The trial, expected to last up to 10 days, is set to begin Dec. 5 in state Supreme Court in Monroe County.

The groups want to force a public vote in hopes of reducing the size of the project and correct what they perceive as traffic issues caused by the new development.

“We’re fine with having a Whole Foods there, but the overall plaza is too big and packed with too many buildings,” Howie Jacobson, president of Brighton Grassroots, said in a news release. “Traffic is already a nightmare and parking will be just as bad. Anyone who drives by it can already see that.”

Contractors began to build the Whole Foods and other elements of the plaza in 2020 after previous efforts by Brighton Grassroots and neighbors to stop the project met roadblocks in court.

But because lawsuits were still pending, the court warned the project developer that starting construction would be done “at its own risk,” Jacobson said.

If the community groups are successful at trial, the developer could be forced to reconfigure parts of the plaza through redesign or elimination of some buildings, Brighton Grassroots said.

Brighton Grassroots said that approximately 30 percent of the 10-acre plaza plot is being built on property previously zoned as residential. The group also says that the original Auburn Trail was reconfigured to accommodate a portion of the plaza.

Opponents of the development say the town was required to have a public vote on reconfiguration of the trail and will argue the matter at trial.

“We’ve been on the right path for six years and now we’re finally getting our day in court,” Jacobson said.

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