Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 10, 2013

Planned liquor store riles East Side neighbors

Niagara Gazette — A group of residents are trying to shut down plans to open a liquor store in an East Side neighborhood.

Neighbors and Niagara Falls Block Club Council members are distributing flyers throughout the neighborhood urging people who oppose the opening of a liquor store on 24th Street to show up to the city’s zoning board of appeals’ meeting on Tuesday where the board will vote on an application from the owner Faisel Haruna seeking a variance to open the store.

Haruna needs the varience because the street is zoned as residential.

Debby Rybarczyk was born around the corner from the 24th Street building on Monroe Avenue and moved back to the house five years ago from Clarence to care for her mother.

Rybarczyk said she is concerned that a liquor store will make the neighborhood, which already has problems with crime, a magnet for drug dealers and prostitutes.

“There’ll be winos, there’ll be broken bottles,” she said. “It’ll be a disaster.”

Rybarczyk said a convenience store down the street, also owned by Haruna, is already a magnet for crime in the neighborhood.

“The mini-mart opened and everything multiplied,” she said.

But Haruna, who moved to the Falls from Ghana 13 years ago, said that assertion is unfair.

There are no liquor stores on 19th Street and crime is still an issue on the street, he countered.

“There’s no liquor stores over there,” Haruna said. “There’s a crime every day over there.”

Haruna said his store actually makes the neighborhood safer because criminals avoid the street so as to not appear on the security cameras on the outside of his building.

The Niagara Falls Police Department has used footage from his cameras in investigations, he added.

“I have a camera that solves a lot of crimes,” Haruna said.

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
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