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Proposal to open slaughterhouse on Walden withdrawn

A Cheektowaga man who sought city permission to open a halal slaughterhouse in Buffalo withdrew his application to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance and doesn't plan to find a new location.

Masaab Darwish wanted to convert a garage building at 822 Walden Ave. into a butcher shop, while putting a restaurant in a separate building in front that had formerly been a Dairy Queen and later a cellphone store.

Darwish claimed he had support from residents, but neighbors and Lovejoy Common Councilmember Richard Fontana voiced strong objections to the idea, saying a slaughterhouse did not belong in a residential area.

Darwish on Thursday said he was disappointed by the outcome, but plans to move on. He said he would not try to find a different location for his proposed business.

Last week, residents in the Walden Avenue neighborhood expressed strong opposition to the proposed slaughterhouse. The Academy Road Block Club, which represents residents on Academy and St. Mary's, circulated a petition against the business.

"A slaughterhouse is not needed here," said Ulysses Williams, 57.

The city used to have many stockyards and slaughterhouses, especially on the East Side when it was a bustling area, but all have closed. One halal slaughterhouse is finishing its sixth year of business on Ridge Road in Lackawanna.

The Lackawanna Halal Market at 174 Ridge Road opened in December 2011. The business first sought a location in the city on the east or lower west sides, said Abdullah Alkulifi, an employee.

"We first wanted to open in the city because there were more customers, but Lackawanna also has a large Muslim community," Alkulifi said.

"Everyone wanted us in the neighborhood because it was more like back home, but in the beginning some of our neighbors were uncomfortable."

The Lackawanna Halal Market mainly sells poultry, but also takes orders for lamb, beef, rabbit and duck, said Alkulifi.

"We get a lot of customers from Erie, Pa, and Rochester," said Alkulifi. "With fresh meat, you'll never go wrong.''

Councilmember opposes planned Walden Avenue slaughterhouse

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