City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo 2-17-1998, effective 3-6-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alcoholic beverages — See Ch. 69.
Amusements — See Ch. 75.
Billiard and pool rooms and bowling alleys — See Ch. 92.
Dances and dance halls — See Ch. 150.
Drugs — See Ch. 161, Art. I.
Firearms, arrows and other weapons — See Ch. 180.
Gambling — See Ch. 209.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 216.
Noise — See Ch. 293.
Nuisance abatement — See Ch. 294.
Obscenity — See Ch. 299.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 313.
Promoting general welfare of minors in public places — See Ch. 343.
Smoking — See Ch. 399.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulatory controls to ensure that certain businesses are operated in accordance with law, do not have a serious negative impact upon surrounding residential neighborhoods or do not endanger the health, safety or welfare of persons in the City of Buffalo.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BAR
A premises where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises; or a premises operated for profit or pecuniary gain or as a place of assembly where alcoholic beverages are provided by the operator of the premises, his or her agents, servants or employees, or are brought onto said premises by persons assembling there.
BUSINESS
A bar, food store, drugstore or restaurant as defined herein.
COMMISSIONER OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Commissioner of Community Development or his designee.
DRUGSTORE
A premises where prescription drugs are sold at retail, together with dry goods, food or beverages.
FOOD STORE
A premises with a total floor space less than 20,000 square feet in which 50% or more of its sales area is devoted to the sale of food and beverage items to be consumed off the premises.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
For purposes of this chapter, a public nuisance shall be deemed to exist whenever, through violations of any of the following provisions resulting from separate incidents at a building, erection or place, 12 or more points are accumulated within a period of six months or 18 or more points within a period of 12 months, in accordance with the following point system. Where more than one violation occurs during a single incident, the total points for the incident shall be the highest point value assigned to any single violation.
RESTAURANT
A premises where food is sold to be consumed on the premises. This definition shall not include a premises where a nonalcoholic beverage or snack is available but is incidental to the conduct of the business at the premises.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT OR PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
A transfer of the title of the property from one entity to another, regardless of familial relationship or an arrangement wherein the operation of the business is leased to, or managed by, an entity that is not the owner.
VIOLATION
An action as listed in § 131-8 of this chapter by any person on or about the premises holding the certificate of operation which requires the intervention of the City of Buffalo.
No person shall operate or maintain a business within the City without first having obtained a certificate of operation authorizing the operation of said business by said operator at the specific business location. The certificate of operation is nontransferable. A new certificate of operation must be obtained whenever there is a significant change in management or property ownership. The certificate of operation shall run indefinitely unless such a change occurs. Failure to obtain a certificate of operation or operating a business without a certificate of operation shall be punishable by the immediate assessment of 20 points.
An application for a certificate of operation shall be made to the Office of Licenses on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Community Development. The application shall request relevant information relating to the operator and the business to be conducted at the premises, including whether any other licenses and permits are necessary for the business. No other licenses or permits shall be issued until the applicant has obtained or applied for a certificate of operation.
Upon receipt of an application for a certificate of operation, the Director of Inspections, Licenses and Permits shall review the entire business location (including accessory and related locations) to ensure that the operation of the business at that location will be in compliance with all building and zoning laws. A check shall be made to ensure that the applicant is not serving a period of suspension or revocation of a previous certificate of operation or is not the subject of pending charges brought pursuant to any applicable law of the City or the state. The Commissioner of Community Development, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Fire may cause an inspection of the premises to be made to determine whether the applicant is complying with the laws and ordinances which they are charged with enforcing. The Commissioner of Community Development, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Fire and members of their staff shall have the right to enter upon any premises for which a certificate of operation is sought for the purpose of making such an inspection during normal business hours and shall also have the authority to seek warrants where the same are constitutionally required.
No certificate of operation shall be issued unless the applicant has fully complied with the provisions of this chapter. No certificate of operation shall be issued to an applicant during the term of a suspension or revocation of a previous certificate of operation or while charges brought pursuant to any applicable law of the City or the state are pending against the applicant. No person shall maintain or operate a business for which a certificate is required under this chapter more than 90 days after the effective date of this chapter, unless he or she has properly filed a certificate application. Initial certificates shall be issued or denied within 150 days after the effective date of this chapter. Thereafter, certificates shall be issued or denied within 30 days after an application is completed.
A. 
The owner and operator of any business shall comply with all provisions of federal, state and local laws and ordinances relating to the conduct of businesses and the occupation, use and maintenance of the premises.
B. 
The owner and operator of any business shall comply with all notices, orders, decisions and rules and regulations made by the Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of Fire, Commissioner of Community Development and the City Planning Board governing the occupation and use of said premises.
C. 
The owner and operator of any business shall cause the certificate of operation to be posted in a conspicuous place visible to the public on the premises of the business.
D. 
The owner and operator of any business shall not permit at any time a greater number of persons on the premises than the capacity approved by the City.
E. 
The owner and operator of any business shall maintain good order on and about the premises at all times. The premises shall include the building in which the business is located, as well as accessory structures and uses, including parking lots, and the land on which the building is located. The owner and operator of any business shall also be responsible to remove refuse and obstructions from the sidewalk in accordance with the City Code and to operate the business so that neither the business nor its patrons become a source of disruption to other building tenants or on the sidewalks, streets or other private property in the vicinity of the business. The lack of good order shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Suffering or permitting the premises to become disorderly, including suffering or permitting fighting or lewdness.
(2) 
Gambling.
(3) 
Prostitution.
(4) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale or offer for sale of alcoholic beverages.
(5) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale or offer for sale of cigarettes or tobacco products.
(6) 
Food stamp or welfare fraud or criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions.
(7) 
Litter.
(8) 
Possession, use, gift, sale or offer for sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia.
(9) 
Noise violations.
(10) 
Possession of stolen property.
(11) 
Operating beyond the legal hours of operation.
(12) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale or offer for sale of dangerous weapons.
(13) 
Unlawfully dealing with a child or allowing or permitting sexual performances by a child.
A. 
The following violations shall be assigned to a point value of six points:
(1) 
Article 220 of the Penal Law, Controlled Substances Offenses.
(2) 
Article 221 of the Penal Law, Offenses Involving Marihuana.
(3) 
Article 225 of the Penal Law, Gambling Offenses.
(4) 
Article 230 of the Penal Law, Prostitution Offenses.
(5) 
Sections 165.40, 165.45, 165.50, 165.52 and 165.54 of the Penal Law, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.
(6) 
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
(7) 
Article 265 of the Penal Law, Firearms and other Dangerous Weapons.
(8) 
Sections 260.20 and 260.21 of the Penal Law, Unlawfully Dealing with a Child.
(9) 
Article 263 of the Penal Law, Sexual Performance by a Child.
(10) 
Section 415-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, Vehicle Dismantlers.
(11) 
Section 175.10 of the Penal Law, Falsifying Business Records.
(12) 
Sections 170.65 and 170.70 of the Penal Law, Forgery of and Illegal possession of a Vehicle Identification Number.
(13) 
Possession, use, sale or offer for sale of any alcoholic beverage in violation of Article 18 of the Tax Law or of any cigarette or tobacco products in violation of Article 20 of the Tax Law.
(14) 
Article 158 of the Penal Law, Welfare Fraud.
(15) 
Article 178 of the Penal Law, Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions.
(16) 
Section 147 of the Social Services Law, Food stamp program fraud.
B. 
The following violations shall be assigned a point value of four points:
(1) 
State and local building, housing and property maintenance codes.
(2) 
Operating a business during hours which the business is required to be closed.
(3) 
Allowing persons on the premises in excess of occupancy limits.
C. 
The following violations shall be assigned a point value of three points:
(1) 
Section 216-9 of the Code, Littering.
(2) 
Chapter 293 of the Code, Noise.
(3) 
Section 78-20 of the Code, howling dogs.
(4) 
Suffering or permitting the premises to become disorderly, including suffering or permitting fighting or lewdness.
D. 
For purposes of this section, a conviction for an offense in a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative bureau shall not be required. Instead, the City shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the violations have occurred. However, a conviction as defined and applied in accordance with the provisions of § 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, in any court of competent jurisdiction, or a conviction or plea of guilty in the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication shall constitute conclusive proof of a violation. Conviction of an attempt to commit a violation of any of the specified provisions shall be considered a conviction for a violation of the specified provision.
Points shall be assessed against the owner, operator and business concurrently. The Commissioner of Community Development shall have the discretion to modify or reduce the penalty assessed an owner, operator or business upon an investigation which reveals that the interests of justice would be best served by releasing the liability upon the owner, operator or business. Points assessed to a business shall remain with the business despite any change in ownership or operation until such time as the nuisance abatement penalty period has expired or the Commissioner of Community Development has modified the penalty period.
A. 
In addition to the enforcement procedures established elsewhere, the Commissioner of Community Development, after notice and opportunity for a hearing with respect to a public nuisance, shall:
(1) 
Stop the operation of the business or close the building, erection or place to the extent necessary to abate the nuisance;
(2) 
Suspend for a period not to exceed six months or revoke for a period of one year a certificate of operation issued for such premises and prevent the operator from obtaining a new certificate of operation for another location for the period of suspension or revocation;
(3) 
Suspend for a period not to exceed six months or revoke for a period of one year any occupational license or permit issued by the City related to the conduct of a business or trade at the premises, which suspension or revocation shall also apply to any other locations operated by the holder for which the license or permit is required; or
(4) 
Any combination of the above.
B. 
Proceedings shall be commenced by service of the notice and opportunity for a hearing within 60 days after the occurrence of the most recent violation cited in the notice.
This chapter shall become effective June 1, 1998.