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Slaughterhouse proponents aim to ease local concerns

Two businessmen who want to open a slaughterhouse on William Street will first have to convince neighbors that it won't cause odors or other nuisances, city zoning officials said Wednesday.

The owners of several neighboring businesses attended a City Hall hearing to learn more about plans for a building at 1285 William St., at Babcock Street.

A father-and-son team from Brooklyn wants to open a slaughterhouse, butcher shop and farmers' market a short distance from the William Street Post Office. They plan to butcher goats, lambs, poultry, rabbits and calves in a building once owned by the U.S. Postal Service.

The slaughterhouse would be Halal, meaning that animals would be butchered in a Muslim tradition that includes a prayer. Mustasa Jaarah said the "most humane" method is used -- slashing the jugular veins of the animals.

"Everything is very sanitary, and there's no cruelty," he said.

Between 20 and 30 animals a week would be processed, he told city officials.

The William Street building is a couple of thousand feet from the closest homes, but there are numerous businesses in the neighborhood.

The chairman of DeCarolis Truck Rental, near the site, raised concerns Wednesday.

"This property can be used for a better use than a slaughterhouse in the middle of an industrial area," Paul DeCarolis said. He expressed fears that animals might be kept in an outdoor stockyard.

"I have 21,000 square feet in that building," Jaarah replied. "Why should I put any animal outside?"

The building currently houses a Subway sandwich shop, and Jaarah said he would like to see it remain as a tenant. But Subway owner Bobby Horton said some customers are worried about odors.

"If there's a stench, then I'm going to lose business," he said.

The slaughterhouse would have a sophisticated ventilation system that will prevent any offensive smells, Jaarah said. He added that his family has operated a slaughterhouse in Brooklyn for 15 years and has had no complaints from neighbors.

If the city permits the business to open, Jaarah said, he expects to employ up to 25 people. The farmers' market and bakery would be open 24 hours, he added.

Common Council President David A. Franczyk, whose Fillmore District includes the building, met with Jaarah and his father, Yousef Jaarah. Franczyk said he's keeping an "open mind" about the proposed slaughterhouse and might even visit the Jaarahs' business in Brooklyn.

This is the third time in two years that an applicant has sought city permission to open a slaughterhouse. Two other projects were derailed in the planning phases, including a proposal the Jaarahs floated last year to open a slaughterhouse in a building near the Broadway Market.


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