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Bar Owners, Teen Sue City Over Chippewa Policy | News

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Bar Owners, Teen Sue City Over Chippewa Policy

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- City leaders intended to fight back against troubles in the entertainment district with a new law adopted last year.  But now they find themselves facing a legal fight.

Nearly a year ago, Buffalo's Common Council passed legislation that they hoped would crack down on underage drinking and rowdiness along the Chippewa Strip.  Now the law is the focus of a lawsuit.

The new law prohibited so-called co-mingling, or underage people being allowed to enter the bars under the agreement that they would not be drinking.  Two Chip-strip bar owners have filed suit against the the Mayor, Council members, the police commissioner and commissioner of permits and inspections.  They say the law infringes on their right to earn a living and operate their business as they see fit.

Joining in the suit is 19-year-old patron Colin Miller.

"I can fight for our country, I can elect a president, but the fact that I can't set foot on premisis on Chippewa is kind of rediculous," said Miller.

"A city is not allowed to have standard-less discretion, or in other words, it can't just be because I said so," said Paul Cambria, attorney for the plaintiffs.

"We had call history records to indicate there was a problem down there, the council acted and the mayor approved that legislation to make sure we're doing something about the problem," said Buffalo Corporation Counsel Timothy Ball.

Back in April, the Common Council approved the legislation prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 from patronizing Chippewa Street bars with the exception of Thursday nights.  By October, the Thursday night exception was removed.

It is now up to the judge.  But both sides will have to wait a little longer.  State Supreme Court Justice James Dillon reserved decision, giving both the plaintiffs and the city time to submit more documentation in favor of their side.


Downtown Businesses