JPNC denies Whole Foods seating license

May 11, 2012
By

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) narrowly voted to deny Whole Foods a license to set up inside and outside seating during its meeting April 24.

The council’s vote is not binding on Whole Foods Market’s effort to add 38 seats—22 inside and 16 outside—to its 413 Centre St. location. The company can still seek to obtain the license from the City.

“This is a use they said they weren’t that interested in getting and here they are now going for it,” said Edward Burrows, a council member, who expressed concerns that Whole Foods hadn’t met with enough local businesses about the impact of its plan.

Michael Reiskind, chair of the JPNC’s Public Service Committee, said he felt that the council should not vote on the matter because his subcommittee voted 4-4 on the issue.

“I think we should take no action,” he said.

The council disregarded Reiskind’s advice and voted 8-7 to deny the license.

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  • JP Gal

    The JPNC took this unannounced vote despite the fact that the Public Services Committee made no recommendation on the matter (which before the new Whole Foods rules always meant that the Council as a whole did not take a position).  More importantly, the plan to vote on the proposal was not listed on the meeting agenda or announced on the JPNC website or Facebook page prior to the meeting.  Neither Whole Foods nor anyone in JP who wants the seating added were aware that the vote was going to happen and therefore did not attend the meeting and had no opportunity to address the Council’s concerns.

    The JPNC’s continuing lack of transparency and making up the rules as it goes along is the real story here. The Gazette should write about that issue, which has troubling ramifications in our community, rather than continuing to use every opportunity it can find to condemn Hyde Square’s anchor business — a business that employs many of our neighbors, is extraordinarily generous in its support of our community (just ask Hyde Square Task Force and Community Servings), and is already enlivening Hyde Square (two new businesses have recently opened:  The JP Dollar Hut and Caffe Aromi).