BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local pizza staple Bocce Club Pizza wants to come back downtown, but neighbors are saying no.
"We've been waiting for the longest, I've been waiting for like three years for this to happen I’ve been telling people 'they’re gonna put Bocce back', but it hasn’t happened yet," said Joseph Bonds who grew up one block away from the pizzeria.
The Clinton Street location has been closed since the original owner passed away in 2011.
Current owner Jim Pacciotti repurchased the property a few years back. Fans of the restaurant were glad to hear it was coming back.
"I want it to be like back in the old days, get a half box of pizza, not too many places to get a half box of pizza," said Bonds.
Upon trying to re-open last year, Pacciotti found that the property had been re-zoned for single family housing. Meaning he'd need permission from the city to re-open.
During this process, there were public hearings, where one man objected to Bocce's return.
"One gentleman came in who was a homeowner and says we don’t want all that traffic and disruption so he spoke against it," recalled Councilman David Franczyk.
Reporter Taylor Epps spoke with some people who live on Clinton Street that protested the re-opening, they listed a few other reasons:
- They fear trash will pile up
- They don't want loud music
- They don't want the smell
- They want the area to remain residential, not commercial
"It is gonna cause some traffic, but it would be an ongoing business and we’ve been operating for 73 years, started in 1946 we know how to run a business and we know how to keep things under control," Pacciotti.
After the backlash, Pacciotti became frustrated and has since put the project on hold. He's pursuing other opportunities downtown to take advantage of Buffalo's renaissance.
If he does re-open on Clinton, Pacciotti would need to re-file for city permits, according to councilman Franczyk.