On January 31st, after a21-day trial, Brighton Grassroots, Save Monroe Ave. and Clover/Allens Creek Neighborhood Association delivered their closing statements. We believe the community made a compelling case. Namely, that the Town failed to follow New York State law when it allowed the Developer to build its oversized plaza on top of a public recreation trail (the Auburn Trail).
The Court has until April 22nd to render its decision. We are hopeful it will rule much sooner. If we prevail, then the residents of Brighton will have the right to petition for a vote to protect the Trail. If we win that vote, the Developer will likely have to redesign the plaza in a manner that does not interfere with the Trail and in a way that affects the size of the plaza.
We’ve said many times –and we’ll say it again – we do not oppose having a Whole Foods in the plaza. The purpose of our lawsuit is to force the Town and Developer to follow the law. That means the Town needs to get permission from the State Legislature before it can move a public Trail. It never did that. And it means the Town must allow the public to petition for a vote, as well. It never did that either.
We will let everyone know as soon as we have a decision from the Court, and what happens next.
Thank you for your support and encouragement.
Managing Member, Brighton Grassroots
Dear Brighton Citizen,
ENSURING TRANSPARENT and RESPONSIVE TOWN GOVERNMENT are the goals of the Brighton Grassroots organization. We are citizens of Brighton who were so disappointed with the conduct of our Town Board and Supervisor in the Whole Foods Plaza approval process that we decided to provide a better way for Brighton residents to communicate at a grassroots level. We have formed Brighton Grassroots to keep the community informed, and to ensure honest, transparent and responsible local government for future projects.
TRANSPARENCY means the Town should openly and willingly share information, and not take steps calculated to frustrate public participation. The delivery of time-sensitive information must allow time for meaningful public and expert review and feedback. In the Whole Foods Plaza case, the Town took action that one can only conclude was specifically calculated to keep the public in the dark, and prevent the public from being at key Town Board meetings (see Complaint).
RESPONSIVENESS is found by carefully weighing and including public opinion. Indeed, even though an incentive zoning deal was entirely discretionary by the Town Board, and even though a national independent polling agency showed 78% of Brighton residents wanted this Project to go through the regular process/standard zoning protections, the Town ignored the community, and refused to communicate with the public.
We did not set out to take on this task, but it is the right thing to do, and we have extremely broad support from all corners of the Town. As responsible citizens of this Town, a town we love and care deeply about, it is time for all of us to work together to live within a TRANSPARENT and RESPONSIVE community, holding our elected officials accountable.
STAY CONNECTED. What can you do right now to help? This is all about grassroots involvement. That means we need to be able to communicate so everyone knows what our Town Board is doing. Please submit your email address by clicking on the “Sign Up!” button above. Privacy: We communicate only when there is something important to communicate. We will not sell your email address, and you can always easily unsubscribe.
We will periodically send out a newsletter/email about our Town government, include information we receive from our members, and make everyone aware of what is going on. A democratic response requires us all to work together. None of us can sit back and rely on others.
WE ARE COUNTING ON YOU. So, please, after you send us your email, commit to discussing this important topic with at least two other Brighton residents. We need all responsible citizens to stay informed.
Howie Jacobson is a third-generation Brightonian. Howie formed Brighton Grassroots LLC to give Brighton’s residents a voice, and to hold Brighton’s elected officials accountable. It is Howie’s mission to make sure Brighton’s zoning laws are applied equally to all.
A long time community leader, Howie is the former Chair of Golisano Children’s Hospital, and has been a board member of the hospital for 18 years. He is also the Vice-chair of Hillside Work Scholarship Connection, a Founding Board member of EquiCenter, a board member of the Venture Jobs Foundation, and a co-founder of The Big Parade, which supports community wide-art projects for charity.
Howie is also a successful business man. He is the former managing partner at Dixon Schwabl, an advertising firm located in Perinton. He is also the former Executive Vice President of Canandaigua Wine Company and Constellation Brands, the former President of Polyphenolics, Inc., and was involved in the purchase of Genesee Brewing Company in 2000. Currently, Howie runs Red Rock 1886, a consulting firm providing advice to small and medium size businesses.
In his free time, Howie enjoys riding horses, hiking and vacationing with his wife Jona, an independent college admissions advisor.
Howie hopes his long history of community service, creativity, and leadership, along with his strong ties to the Brighton Community, will help raise awareness of the serious problems with the proposed Whole Foods Plaza development in Brighton, and the mis-use of our zoning laws by the Town Board.