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Town planners approve Transit Drive-In expansion

LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport Planning Board on Tuesday approved an expansion of the Transit Drive-In, allowing the addition of a fifth screen to the popular outdoor movie theater.

Owner Rick Cohen sought the expansion to try to fit more cars onto his South Transit Road property and relieve traffic congestion on the road.

It includes construction of a two-lane service road parallel to South Transit Road, which is state Route 78. The road will be used for cars waiting for admission, while the fifth screen will show the most popular movie of the week, the same program Cohen will show on one or two other screens, depending on demand. That way, Cohen hopes, there will be fewer delays.

Timothy W. Arlington of Lockport’s Apex Consulting said the new service road and changes to the property’s layout will accommodate about 120 waiting vehicles, about three times as many as can wait on the property now before traffic backs up onto the highway. The state Department of Transportation insisted on the service road in exchange for allowing Cohen to build a new entrance off Route 78.

The fifth screen will accommodate about 220 vehicles, roughly the same capacity as each of the other four screens. Including the purchase of land, construction and moving the marquee, main entrance and ticket booths, Cohen is investing about $1 million in the project, which is targeted for completion in mid-June. However, Cohen still needs approval from the town’s engineering firm and from the Federal Aviation Administration, because there is a small airfield across the road from the new screen.

On other topics Tuesday, the Planning Board approved a doggy day care center in a former motorcycle dealership next to the drive-in theater. Brian J. Hutchison, attorney for owners Daniel and Cheryl McKie of Royalton, said they won’t keep dogs overnight and intend to be open only on weekdays and would close at 6 p.m. Cohen said given those facts, he had no objection to the business.

Also approved Tuesday was an amendment to a special-use permit for Gerald Tomaino of Wrights Corners Self Storage, 4040 Lake Ave., allowing him to begin renting small trucks. The vehicles will be stored outdoors until a new building is erected to house them.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com