SA Assembly passes resolution opposing proposed Main Street bar
Resolution urges Buffalo Common Council to deny proposal for a bar
SA Assembly passed a resolution Thursday evening urging Buffalo’s Common Council to deny a proposal for a bar on Main Street near South Campus. The resolution passed with six people in favor, two opposing and three abstaining.
Main Place Bar is a newly proposed 18 and up nightlife location in the University Heights area. The proposed bar has sparked controversy and is opposed by University District Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt as well as University Heights community members and local business leaders.
“It’s important that they got community feedback,” Speaker of the Assembly Mike Brown said. “But there is broad opposition. It’s a bad idea for the university community—not just residents, but many student residents as well.”
Brown said University Heights residents are concerned the bar will be a “nuisance” to the community and encourage underage drinking. Residents are also concerned about the hours; the bar is open until 4 a.m. Thursday to Sunday, which residents are afraid could lead to late-night disruptions. University Heights Collaborative members believe the proposed bar is against their vision of a “safe and walkable community.”
In addition to fears of being disruptive to the local community, there are legal concerns about the proposed bar. The facility has blacked out windows that violate Buffalo’s Green Code zoning ordinance. There is also a concern about the legality of how the owner obtained the building’s liquor license.
The building does not have a kitchen, so the entire operation will be reliant on alcohol sales primarily to the student population—both those who live on South Campus or in University Heights and those who travel there, according to Brown.
Brown feels there are better, alternative locations where the bar could open and still reach its target audience without disturbing the University Heights community.
“It is a simply bad idea to establish this in the University Heights neighborhood,” Brown said. “But toward the mission of steering students away from partying on South Campus, having night life amenities on North Campus would be greatly beneficial to all involved.”
Senior geological sciences major Samirra Felix thinks the bar sounds “sketchy” in regards to its legality, but thinks having a bar in the South Campus area could be potentially positive.
“It would give students a common place to meet up, which is better than having like five million house parties going on,” Felix said.
She said her biggest concern is she believes there should safe way for students to “blow off steam” and have fun near campus.
“Sometimes people want to drink,” she said. “I mean, it’s college and we’re all adults.”
She pointed out that the subway ends at midnight and a lot of students don’t have cars, making it difficult to go downtown to experience night life.
“So where does that leave students?” Felix said. “At the house parties that the residents are complaining about.”
Matthew Esack, a junior history major thinks it is “detrimental” for students not to have a legal way to go out. He believes not having easily accessible nightlife options will just lead to more house parties.
“It’s just an empty building right now, I don’t see the real problem of having another bar there, as long as there’s not underage drinking students, should have another outlet,” Esack said.
Brown agreed that there should be more nightlife opportunities, but thinks businesses should focus on bringing opportunities to North Campus.
“It’s not just that it’s a bar, it’s the location,” Brown said.
Maple Road and Niagara Falls He pointed out that Maple Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard are not residential areas like University Heights, so students would not be disturbing residents if they went out to bars in that area. And more students live on North Campus, he added. He thinks the bar owner should consider re-locating the bar to a location near North Campus.
“They wouldn’t move downtown because there’s already a bunch of bars there, they would be more likely to go near North Campus because of the student market,” Brown.
“We should tell businesses that students are seeking night life near North Campus where UB could provide official transportation to address drunk driving concerns.”
Maddy Fowler is a news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org