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Williamsville bans new drive-thrus

There will be no new drive-thrus in the Village of Williamsville.

Monday night, the Village Board voted 5-0 to ban any new drive-thrus, a move village officials hope will further encourage a more walkable Williamsville. Previously, the code discouraged, but did not specifically prohibit, drive-thrus.

“This means that in our village core, we’re not going to have the interruptions to pedestrian movement,” said Mayor Brian Kulpa in a statement. “We want to encourage people to park their car, get out and shop in our businesses and walk the village.”

The existing drive-thrus at five Williamsville businesses – McDonald’s, Rite Aid, Bank of America, Walgreens, Key Bank – will be grandfathered in, village officials said.

Any new business that wants to have a drive-thru would have to get a zoning variance. But that’s unlikely to happen.

Over the last few years, the village has promoted making Williamsville more pedestrian-friendly, particularly along busy Main Street.

The village has received more than $5 million in federal money for its “Picture Main Street” initiative, which has included sidewalk extensions, installing pedestrian-activated traffic signals, building “refuge islands” in the middle of Main Street for people walking across the street and reducing the speed limit in some places to 30 mph, from 40 mph.

The new prohibition on drive-thrus isn’t believed to affect any pending projects.

However, some in the village had been concerned about the future usage of the closed Bank of America branch at 5712 Main St., at N. Ellicott St. That branch, like the other Bank of America at 5529 Main St. near Cayuga Road, had a drive-thru. The new code would prohibit whatever goes into the closed building from operating the drive-thru.