Joe Dash will change the way he seeks city approval for a new supermarket on Hertel Avenue in an effort to appease community concerns about what the property may some day become.
The owner of Dash's Market on Hertel Avenue hopes to demolish the store and build an expanded grocery on the site, but he ran into community opposition after asking the city to change its zoning map to accommodate his plan.
So Dash decided not to pursue the controversial change and instead will go through the city's zoning appeal process for exemptions to the city zoning rules.
"Some members of the community raised our awareness to unanticipated impacts that could result, in the future, from a requested zoning map amendment," Dash wrote to neighbors of the North Buffalo market Thursday.
Dash said his effort to amend the zoning map was intended to align the property "with development of a large grocery market and not to introduce new uses to the community that would be inappropriate for our North Buffalo neighborhood."
Given the change of course, the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday sent Dash's application back to its Legislation Committee, rather than approve or deny Dash’s original request to change the city's zoning plan known as the Green Code.
“At this time the committee members do not have to do anything with it," said Councilman Joel P. Feroleto, who represents the Delaware District where the expanded Dash’s market will be located. "The only reason we sent it back is because Joe Dash said he wanted to move forward with variances.”
Dash, in the letter, said the proposed change to the city's zoning map would be "unnecessary if the community supports the variances that are required to authorize the proposed development."
Dash’s proposal involves combining nine properties on Hertel Avenue and one on Starin Avenue. To get the project approved, he would need as many as a dozen variances to the city's zoning codes from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
A change to the city’s Green Code – which is what Dash’s originally requested – would have reduced the number of variances to four or five.
Dash's decision not to pursue a change in the Green Code came just days after the proposal was met with opposition from residents at two different City Hall meetings. Many of the community members said they supported the plan for the new market, but they flatly opposed the change to the Green Code.
Dash's recent letter announcing he will seek zoning variances also encouraged the public to show its support for the proposed supermarket by attending two upcoming public meetings – one at the Planning Board at 4 p.m. July 17 and the other at the Zoning Board of Appeals at 2 p.m. July 19.
Feroleto, who supports Dash's proposal to construct an expanded Dash's market, said he will attend the meetings to show his approval.
"I absolutely support this project," Feroleto said. "This is going to be a tremendous asset for Hertel Avenue... and I hope the project gets all the variances they apply for."