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TWO 90-DAY MORATORIUMS APPROVED

East Aurora won't be rolling out the welcome mat in the next 90 days for drive-through businesses along Main Street.

Nor will it allow any structures that are 50 years old or older to be torn down along Route 20A (Main Street) for the same three-month period. The 50-year mark and older is typically considered the cutoff for National Historic Registry eligibility for buildings.

That's the thrust of a moratorium approved this week by the Village Board as a local law. Its supporters say the measure is designed to give village leaders time to study zoning and village code in order to adequately protect the village's historic character.

During the 90-day stretch, the Zoning Board and Planning Commission will study the village's codes and are expected to recommend tighter controls on development along Main Street.

"It's not a blanket moratorium on the whole length of Main Street," said Trustee Elizabeth Cheteny, who pushed for the moratorium. "It's very limited in scope. . . . We want to give the Zoning and Planning boards and village time to look at zoning amendments."

Cheteny has insisted she is not targeting any particular project but has stressed the need to protect what already exists on Main Street. She has argued that taking down old buildings affects the traditional development pattern and pedestrian access.

The board has scrutinized drive-through restaurants to the point where it rejected two proposals in October -- one for a drive-through Dunkin Donuts on lower Main Street at the site of the former Bach's deli and service station and the other for a Starbucks Coffee at Benderson Development Co.'s traffic circle project.

The moratorium approval was not unanimous. Trustee Robert Ruffner, along with Trustee Patrick McDonnell, voted against the measure.

"I find this to be a feel-good law rather than actually solving any problem," Ruffner said Tuesday. "I find the moratorium actually delaying the process. To me, it's a waste of time and not the most effective way to accomplish what needs to be done."

Instead of enacting a moratorium, Ruffner said the board would have been better to hold a public hearing on the issue and then approve any needed changes to the code.

"I think our community, in general, is looking for some kind of leadership because there's been so much development so fast. It's looking for a breather," he said. "Change the laws you need to change and be done."

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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