Tempers Flare At Public Meeting Over Acropolis Expansion

5:11 PM, Jan 20, 2012   |    comments
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People pack into public meeting regarding expansion at Acropolis Restaurant in the Elmwood Village.
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  • Elmwood Restaurant Looks to Expand; Neighbors Push Back
  • BUFFALO, N.Y. -- People packed into a heated public meeting Thursday night in the Elmwood Village all over a proposal to expand a restaurant.

    Paul Tsouflidis bought Acropolis at 708 Elmwood Ave. from his parents, and he's already done major renovations; now, he wants to add a bar and patio area to the second floor.

    But some people in the neighborhood oppose any expansion, saying they're worried it will create a nightclub-style atmosphere in the area.

    Several of those people spoke against the proposal at a public meeting Thursday at the Lafayette Presbyterian Church.

    "We are opposed to excessive noise, to increased traffic, the competition for parking spaces, safety concerns, property values and annoyances that affect the quality of life of our neighborhood," Lynda Schneekloth said.

    Tsouflidis said he has gone to extremes, spending tens of thousands of dollars to improve the facility, cut down on the noise, and address other concerns. Several times, he and his attorney stressed they do not want to turn Acropolis into a nightclub.

    By about 3 to 1, most speakers supported Acropolis' expansion. Several of his employees and long-time customers cheered him at the meeting.

    Fellow restauranteur Pano Georgidis, who owns Pano's on Elmwood, was among the supporters.

    "If you want a quiet life -- a village quiet life -- I'll move to Marilla," Pano said.

    Tsouflidis said he was especially disappointed by the position of the Elmwood Village Association, after board members determined the following:

    The Elmwood Village Association is in favor of the proposal to expand the second floor of 708 Elmwood Avenue for restaurant purposes only. The Association does not favor the establishment of a bar on the second floor of the building. Additionally, the Elmwood Village Association is in favor of allowing a music license for the establishment o...n the following conditions: music must be kept at a sound level consistent with dining and quiet conversation and must be terminated at a reasonable hour; music is not allowed on any patio; and live music and DJs are not permitted to perform on the premises. Elmwood Village Association is in favor of a second floor patio at this location with the understanding that music will not be permitted and that the patio will close at a reasonable hour.

    Tsouflidis said those types of restrictions, especially that "music must be kept at a sound level consistent with dining and quiet conversation" would hurt business.

    "If you actually look at the verbage, you will prevent any business owner that wants anything to do with Elmwood to come to Elmwood," Tsouflidis said. "You did that with that verbage."

    Tempers flared several times during the more than 2-hour long meeting, which was moderated by Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera, who made one speaker sit down, because Rivera felt he was verbally attacking another participant.

    Acropolis' expansion request now goes before the full Common Council. Members will discuss it in the coming days, but they are not expected to take a vote until early February.

    Click on the video player to see the full report on the heated meeting by 2 On Your Side's Michael Wooten and Photojournalist Ben Read.

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