Council targets city's 'problem stores'

Feb 14, 2013

City lawmakers are taking steps to crack down on so-called "problem stores" in Buffalo.

A Business Regulation Task Force has been set up by Buffalo's Common Council to update old ordinances. Task Force Chairperson Bonnie Russell says the goal is to give the city "teeth to stand on" to close such stores, which often serve as a magnet for crime.

Russell, who represents the University District, says the city wants to be user-friendly, but it also needs the power to close businesses that refuse to cooperate.

"They come into the community with bad intentions. They know exactly why they're there. They target certain communities to be in...because they know they can get by unnoticed," said Russell.

Because it has been decades since most regulations were adopted, Russell says making the changes is going to take plenty of work and time. But she says streamlining the process will make it easier for businesses, the Council, and the courts.