A new Tim Hortons coffee shop will be built in the Town of Cheektowaga, over the objections of some nearby residents and most of the Town Board.
Plans for the shop at 829 Dick Road were voted down last month by the Town Board, which sided with residents worried about the shop bringing more traffic to the already-congested roadway.
But the board had to revisit the project due to a procedural error during that vote, and last week it approved the site plan and special use permit.
“I’m very disappointed that I wasn’t able to follow through for the residents on what they wanted, because they live in that area,” said Supervisor Diane Benczkowski.
Residents’ objections were not deemed a legally valid reason for denying the project and officials were concerned the franchisee might bring a lawsuit against the town, which would cost between $45,000 and $65,000 to defend against, she said.
“We did not have a defense for a potential lawsuit against the town if we did not approve the project,” she said.
Councilman James P. Rogowski said he’s wasn’t necessarily in favor of a Tim Hortons at the site, but approved it from the beginning because it conformed with all town regulations.
“That’s what the rest of the board should have done, instead of tying up so much time on this project,” he said.
Fredy and Judy Stamm, under the name Silvertip Ventures LLC, have proposed demolishing the one-story frame Captain’s Cove seafood restaurant and two sheds on the site and constructing a 1,766-square-foot Tim Hortons with a drive-thru window.
“It was a very small group of individuals that objected to it,” Fredy Stamm said Thursday. “I think what has happened is the right thing.”
The Stamms own six local Tim Hortons locations and have plans for two more – the $1.5 million Dick Road location and a $3 million retail space and coffee shop at Union and Indian Church roads in West Seneca.
Stamm said he expects to take ownership of the Cheektowaga land this week, with construction to begin in three weeks and the coffee shop to open in January or February. The new shop will be much more attractive than the current restaurant, he said.
About half the land will be reserved as “perpetual greenspace,” he said, and any trees knocked down will be replaced. The town requires a drive-thru to handle at least 16 vehicles, but this one will accommodate 26.
“We did our due diligence and made just about any accommodation the town requested of us,” Stamm said. “It’s not that we were trying to ram this through. We went through all the legal channels.”
While customers will initially be allowed to make left-hand turns from the shop to go south on Dick Road, Rogowski said the town’s traffic safety committee will be monitoring closely to ensure it’s safe to do so, especially during morning and afternoon rush hour.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation is studying the timing of traffic signals on Dick Road at Genesee Street and the entrance and exit ramps of the Kensington Expressway to help alleviate rush hour backups. Results are expected in about three months, Benczkowski said.