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Orchard Park considers adopting open-container laws

In Orchard Park town parks, you can drink only beer, ale and wine, but you can walk down any street in the town drinking a can of beer or a pint of whiskey.

But that may change soon.

The Town Board is considering enacting an ordinance restricting open containers of alcohol.

That means Buffalo Bills fans who like to party while walking to the game may find their consumption curtailed this fall.

“To me this is a huge quality of life issue,” Assistant Police Chief E. Joseph Wehrfritz told the Orchard Park Town Board at a work session Wednesday night.

“Go up to Route 20 and Abbott Road on a given football game day, you would think you’re in the midst of Mardi Gras.”

Wehrfritz said he queried every NFL city and town on their policies and codes concerning open containers of alcohol.

“You’d be surprised. Some states have laws prohibiting making laws about open public alcohol,” Wehrfritz said.

“As long as they’re on private property, they can drink all they want,” Councilman David Kaczor said.

“The minute they walk across that street and walk that long way down ...”

Wehrfritz said some fans carry a six-pack of beer as they walk along the street and drink as much as they can before they enter Ralph Wilson Stadium, because they don’t want to spend money inside the stadium. “For families that are taking kids, it’s intimidating, walking up to the game,” he said.

The board is expected to schedule a public hearing on the proposed ordinance in May.

“It’s not going to eliminate all the stupidity, but it can help us control it a little bit,” Wehrfritz said.