NIAGARA FALLS – The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals has rejected a second request to allow a liquor store to open in a residential neighborhood on 24th Street.

The proposal from Faisel Haruna to open the business at 424 24th St., north of Niagara Street and across from a convenience store he owns, requires a variance from the city because zoning codes do not allow such a business on the property.

In a vote last month on Haruna’s request for a variance, board members split, 3-3, which Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson this week called a “default denial.”

The board Tuesday reconsidered the request after Haruna’s attorney, Robert M. Restaino, proposed several conditions, though none of the six board members at Tuesday’s meeting made a motion to institute any of the conditions.

Instead, board member Richard J. Kindzia made a motion to deny the variance request, and all six members voted to reject the variance. Board member Robert Ventry was absent from the meeting.

“The vote is as it is, and now I have to sit with my client for purposes of determining what the next step will be, if there is a next step,” Restaino said.

Options include taking the matter to State Supreme Court, he said.

There was no public comment during the meeting. About 50 people attended last month’s meeting, with both supporters and opponents speaking before the board.

The opponents included Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto, some neighbors and representatives of the city’s Block Club Council.

Restaino said the conditions, offered in a Dec. 6 letter, were made after listening to comments from the public last month.

The proposed conditions included closing the business on Sundays, putting up additional lighting, installing security cameras and, if necessary, applying to the city to limit parking time in front of the store.

Board member Samuel Archie was one of three who changed his vote from last month, along with Christopher R. Stoianoff and Vincent Spadorcia.

Archie said the outcry from the community made him change his mind. He described the area as a poorly lit street and said he considered crime issues when deciding how to vote.

In other matters, the board:

• Approved four variance requests for the proposed Community Health Center of Niagara at 2715 Highland Ave. The three-story building will accommodate eight or nine service providers, project representatives said.

• Approved a parking variance request for the Niagara City Lofts project at the former South Junior High School, 561 Portage Road. The board’s decision allows 128 parking spaces on the property, more than the 60 spaces allowed under city codes.


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