Haight Whole Foods wins approval 

What was once a lightning rod of a proposal to place a Whole Foods in the Haight District sailed through the Planning Commission with nary a ripple of controversy Thursday night.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal, which will renovate the old closed Cala Foods store on Haight and Stanyan streets and install a Whole Foods.

Whole Foods representative Glen Moon said only about five members of the public spoke before the commissioners made their decision, and all were in favor of the project. The hearing was a night-and-day difference from the Planning Commission meeting in Fall 2008, when hundreds of people spoke, roughly half in favor of the proposal and half opposed.

At the time, the property owner was considering a much larger store with several floors of housing above and parking below. However, the owners have since abandoned that project because of the bad economy and because of city fees they said were prohibitively expensive.

Moon said Whole Foods is happy with the outcome, and is relieved the project is no longer the hot-button issue it once was.

“You can get a lot more teamwork and cooperation with sugar than you can with vinegar,” he said. “We love the size of the store – it gets built a lot quicker this way.”

He said that if everything goes as planned, the new store should open between September and December.

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Katie Worth

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