ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Closing arguments were completed Tuesday over the opening of a Whole Foods store in Brighton.
23 lawsuits were initially made against the construction of the Whole Foods Plaza in Brighton. However, a New York Supreme Court judge threw out all but one of the complaints — the remaining complaint involving a trail running behind the plaza.
The final documents are due in late February, and the judge said that his decision would come within two months.
According to the Daniele Family Company — the developers of the project and the defendants in the case — there are four easements on the land, which they say disproves the plaintiff’s claims that the Whole Foods store would take away public land.
Save Monroe Ave. and Brighton Grassroots are the plaintiffs in the case.
“We’ve asked the court, if we prevail, to require the town to get permission from the state legislature to allow the developer to build, and also to allow the public to petition for a public vote for a referendum on this as well,” said Aaron Saykin of the firm Hodgson Russ, representing Save Monroe Ave.
The defendants also said that Howie Jacobson, the founder of Brighton Grassroots, admitted that his company was reimbursed by Wegmans for flyers.
“We have heard for 6 years that we have had a compelling case, well, after 24 days in court, it certainly has been compelling,” Jacobson said after closing arguments were finished.
The Town of Brighton added that the petitioner is “manufacturing” a historical trail and is “distorting” their plan.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff is going over old emails sent between 2014 and 2015 from the Town of Brighton and the company. The emails allege that the defendants recognized an implied trail on easements when the project was in the planning stages. They said this is implied dedication and would make it public use land.
The judge concluded the trial by saying that the final documents are due in late February and the decision would come 60 days afterwards.
Construction of the store and plaza has been impeded for years due to opposition and lawsuits from local grassroots campaigns Brighton Grassroots and Save Monroe Avenue. Both organizations gave their thanks to Wegmans for their aid in helping the two organizations oppose the construction.
Both organizations denied that Wegmans is aiding them due to Whole Foods being a competitor. Wegmans did not immediately return a request for comment. The two groups said that Wegmans is helping with concerns about traffic on Monroe Avenue.
Brighton and the Daniele Family Company allege that Wegmans helping to fund the opposition. Town Supervisor Bill Moehle is looking forward to the healthy competition on Monroe.
“The people will vote with their feet, the people can vote with their wallet,” he said. “This will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, and will be a catalyst for economic development.”
Danny Daniele of the Daniele Family Company — the organization responsible for developing the Whole Foods Plaza in Brighton — expects the Whole Foods location and the rest of the plaza’s tenants to open early this year.
But it’s currently unclear how this trial and the judge’s ruling would affect the opening of the store.