What Joe Dash wants for the grocery store that carries his name is reasonable. What is more, he is going about it in the right way. Buffalo’s Common Council should approve his request to expand the market on Hertel Avenue. Despite support for a larger store in the neighborhood, Dash’s petition ran into opposition last week at two public meetings.
Rather than than allowing a simple change to the zoning code to permit the project, critics want him to take a more arduous path to the same place: winning up to a dozen variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The critics say they fear that the zoning changes will open the door to broader developments by other interests. Acknowledging their concerns, Dash offered to include a restriction limiting possible uses to what is currently allowed. It was a thoughtful offer that should have answered any reasonable concerns.
It didn’t. This is still Buffalo.
In other respects, Dash and the community seem to want the same thing: an expanded store. His proposal is to demolish the existing building at Hertel and Starin avenues and, in its place, construct a larger, updated store of 47,500 square feet.
To do that, though, he needs to combine nine properties on Hertel Avenue and one on Starin. Rather than seek so many variances, he sought to change the zoning on the groups of parcels.
A week ago, despite some protests, the Buffalo Planning Board agreed to that logical approach and forwarded the matter to the Common Council. On Tuesday, though, the Council’s Legislation Committee punted, fowarding the matter to the full Council without a recommendation. It was a chicken-hearted decision.
A vote is expected Tuesday, when the Council should approve the request. Failing to do so will merely extend the time and costs of completing the project without producing any public good. It would be a make-work order that sends an unhelpful message to others who want to compete for business in the city.
The Green Code was a great achievement and needs to be honored. In a case such as this, though, granting the changes simply makes it easier to achieve what would otherwise use up resources in the work of accomplishing the same, broadly supported goal. Let’s just get this done.