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New site eyed for business to butcher animals

Two Brooklyn men whose plan to open an East Side slaughterhouse was derailed last year by a neighborhood outcry have cast their sights on a new location.

Yousef and Mustasa Jarrah want to open a slaughterhouse, butcher shop and farmer's market in a building at 1285 William St., a short distance from the William Street Post Office. If city zoning officials approve a variance, they plan to butcher goats, lamb, poultry and calves in a building once owned by the U.S. Postal Service.

Unlike their first plan that would have opened the slaughterhouse on Broadway near some homes, there are no residences within 400 feet of the William Street location, city officials said. The closest homes would be a couple of thousand feet from the building.

Common Council President David A. Franczyk of Fillmore represents the neighborhood where the slaughterhouse is being proposed. He said he needs more information before taking a stand.

"This area was once a slaughterhouse district," said Franczyk. "But we need to make sure prevailing winds won't carry odors throughout the neighborhood."

Mustasa Jaarah gave assurances that there will be no problems with odors, noise or rodents. He said his family has operated a slaughterhouse in Brooklyn for 15 years.

"We know every little thing about this business," he said. "I guarantee that no [residents] will get even a whiff of any smell."

The building currently houses a Subway shop, and Mustasa Jaarah said the sandwich shop would remain a tenant. The new business also would include a bakery and a farmer's market that would sell produce. There also would be meat-storage facilities. The owners expect 25 people to work at the site.

Dan Rusin, who lives on Lewis Street, about four-tenths of a mile from the proposed slaughterhouse, said he doesn't have concerns at this juncture.

"When I moved in here, I knew it was pretty much an industrial area," said Rusin, who has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years.

"The way the economy is, there are a lot of people out of work," Rusin added. "We should be opening our arms to any new businesses."

The Zoning Board of Appeals will review the project at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. People may attend the 2:30 p.m. meeting in Room 901 of City Hall, at which time they will be allowed to give their input. If zoning officials approve the variance, the Common Council would have to approve the slaughterhouse.

Muslims and Arab-Americans would be only one segment of the business' target audience, said Mustasa Jarrah. About 70 percent of the customers his family serves in Brooklyn are of other ethnic origins, he said.

This is the third time in two years an applicant has sought city permission to open a slaughterhouse.

About 15 months before the Jarrah family pulled the plug on plans for the Broadway facility, a different applicant wanted to butcher animals in an empty East Side warehouse on Stone Street. The ensuing controversy spurred the Council to pass an ordinance giving lawmakers the power to approve or reject future slaughterhouses.


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