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Buffalo intends to establish independent board to rule on license violations

Buffalo  plans on establishing an independent licensing board to hear cases when businesses are accused of violating their city licenses.

The Council Tuesday asked the city law department to draft an ordinance establishing a Licensing Hearing Board.

The Department of Permits and Inspections  issues licenses, sites businesses believed to be in violation of their licenses,  and also conducts hearings and makes decisions on the charges, according to South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon.

But when the rulings are appealed to State Supreme Court, they often are overturned by judges who view the city's process as prejudicial toward the license holder, Scanlon said.

"Under the city's current licensing hearing model, the Department of Permits and Inspections is essentially operating as judge, jury and executioner," Scanlon said.

Scanlon's resolution calls for establishing a board independent of the Permits and Inspections department to hear charges and make rulings when a business is accused of violating a city license.

Rulings by the independent board are more likely to be upheld by the courts, Scanlon said.



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