Challenge lodged against comingling law

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The co-mingling law on Chippewa Street that stops anyone under the age of 21 from being in the Entertainment District past 10 p.m. has been the source of controversy for months and now it is being challenged in court.

Both sides made their case in court on Wednesday and will each have another week to turn in their final papers. Then the case is left for the judge to decide whether those aged 18- to 20-years-old will be allowed back into Chippewa bars.

Attorney Paul Cambria is representing Lux, Bayou and The Lodge in the case, arguing the law is unconstitutional.

"Violating constitutional rights shouldn't be our hallmark," Cambria said.

City of Buffalo Corporation Counsel Tim Ball countered, "It's my position that the legislature can do that and we will fight every step of the way to uphold that right to do that."

Taking on the fight with Cambria is 19-year-old University at Buffalo student, Colin Miller. He used to frequent Chippewa before the law was enacted.

"You get to go out see your friends, have fun, there's loud music and you get to dance," he said. "I can fight for the country, I can elect a president, but the fact that I can't step on premises on Chippewa is kind of ridiculous."

Cambria says the State Liquor Authority already deals with underage sales to minors, as well as rowdiness.

"In other words, everyone in the state is treated...like here on the left side of Elmwood Avenue you can do whatever you want on the right side you can't go into a place of public accommodation if you're an adult. It makes no sense," Cambria said.

Ball noted, "The concerns manifested themselves in the lead up to the passage of this legislation where you had underage drinking criminal activity violence and we had call history reports that there was a problem down there."

Did Miller ever drink on Chippewa?

"I didn't personally, but I know that it happens," he acknowledged.

The case continues in court next week when attorneys will hand in the last of their paperwork and then it will be up to Judge James Dillion.

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