A Brooklyn developer has apparently abandoned plans to open a slaughterhouse in an East Side building that contains a Subway sandwich shop, opting instead to buy a property in Lackawanna.
Crews are already remodeling the building at 174-178 Ridge Road near North Steelawanna Avenue, Lackawanna Mayor Norman L. Polanski Jr. confirmed Thursday. While acknowledging that there has been some opposition to the project, Polanski said he believes that the plan to open a butcher shop, grocery and produce store, and bakery will be a benefit to a neighborhood that is largely commercial.
"It will fulfill a big need that is missing in the First Ward," Polanski said.
The mayor said he believes that some opponents have focused unfairly on the most controversial component of the business -- plans to slaughter poultry, goats, lambs, rabbits and calves at the site.
"People like to call this a slaughterhouse, but I call it a butcher shop, because there will be such a minuscule area where they will slaughter things," he said.
Mustasa and Yousef Jaarah, who operate a similar business in Brooklyn, could not be reached to comment on the site change for their proposed Erie County operation.
This spring, the businessmen announced plans to open the slaughterhouse at 1285 William at Babcock streets in Buffalo. The building also houses a Subway shop, and the restaurant owner mounted a drive to block the slaughterhouse. Bobby Horton said worries about smells, waste, rodents and the distasteful notion of having an eating establishment in the same building as a slaughterhouse could doom his sandwich shop. The dispute has already had some impact on his business, he said.
"You had people who actually thought the slaughterhouse was already back there," Horton said.
He said the Buffalo Common Council should officially reject the project when it meets Tuesday.
Polanski said he spoke with Buffalo Common Council President David A. Franczyk, who had visited the Jaarahs' business in Brooklyn earlier this year. Franczyk said the slaughterhouse was clean and had no offensive odors beyond the smell one might detect in a butcher shop.
"They've met all the standards, codes and regulations of the city," Polanski said, adding that county sewer officials have also approved the plans.
Lackawanna Councilwoman Andrea Haxton, who represents the First Ward, accused Lackawanna officials of a "coverup," claiming they intentionally kept neighborhood property owners in the dark about the planned slaughterhouse.