Yesterday was the first Board of Standards and Appeals hearing over Whole Foods’ variance request to build a bigger store than zoning allows at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue, and the board ultimately decided to continue the hearing next month. According to BSA staffers, there was significant turnout from community members opposed to Whole Foods, particularly tenants of the Can Factory across the street, many of whom spoke out against the market because they said it could drive small business out of the area. More than 20 people testified, and most of them were against the retailer building on the site. The board asked the Whole Foods reps to provide them with additional details about several aspects of the project for the next hearing: clarification on how much piles would cost; a more fine-tuned analysis of how their site is unique from others on the Gowanus Canal; an analysis of whether manufacturing uses could theoretically work at the site, rather than just the warehouse and retail uses that Whole Foods analyzed; and further information about how the supermarket is expected to affect traffic and parking in the area. The next hearing will be on January 24th.
Whole Foods Saga Drags on as BSA Blessing is Sought [Brownstoner]