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Whole Foods project gets go ahead


The Brighton Planning Board has signed off on site plans for the Daniele companies' proposed Whole Foods Center on Monroe Avenue.  That means the developer now has all the town approvals it needs to proceed with construction except for a building permit, which company president Danny Daniele says it intends to get within the next few months.

The board had previously approved demolition permits for the former Mario's restaurant and Clover Lanes buildings on the site, as well as the neighboring Mamasan's restaurant; the latter is still open and will be moving across the street at some point.  The board approved plans for five buildings totaling 83,700 square feet; the Whole Foods will occupy a 50,000 square foot building and Starbucks will occupy a 2,000 square foot building with a drive-through, according to Ramsey Boehner, Brighton's town planner.

The planning board also attached more than 40 conditions to the approval, including some previously requested by neighbors who have been critical of the project. Whole Foods would have to ask the town for permission to put Amazon Locker storage space on the site, for example.  The approval is also conditioned on improvements to Monroe Avenue meant to ease traffic congestion.

Daniele says "these approvals represent a giant step forward for the project," but the company still has to contend with lawsuits against it which, he says, are "intended to delay and restrict competition."

Save Monroe Ave., an anonymous group that says it represents businesses in the Monroe Avenue corridor, is suing the Daniele companies and the Town of Brighton. The Daniele family believes Wegmans is behind the group, though several named people and businesses are also part of the Save Monroe Ave. lawsuit.

Brighton Grassroots, an advocacy group, is also suing the developer and the town.  A lawsuit filed by the Clover/Allens Creek Neighborhood Association was dismissed by a judge in July.

Area neighbors, Save Monroe Ave., and others criticized the size of the proposed plaza, and pushed for a smaller one. They also argued that the project would amplify existing traffic congestion on Monroe Avenue.