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Drive-thru ban could curb plans for Tim Hortons in Orchard Park

The way Ray Miranda sees it, six years is a long time to wait to get a cup of coffee.

Miranda and his Miranda Holdings first proposed a Tim Hortons restaurant at the northwest corner of Chestnut Ridge (Route 277) and Armor Duells roads in Orchard Park in 2013.

It would serve the hundreds of caffeine-deprived commuters coming down Jewett Holmwood Road from the Birdsong and Eagle Heights subdivisions on their way to downtown Buffalo via Route 219.

But the Town Board is poised to adopt new regulations that would prevent the restaurant from being built at that corner. After a public hearing two weeks ago, the board could take action Wednesday evening.

And Miranda is vowing to fight the town in court – again. He filed a lawsuit against the town in court over the same location several years ago and won.

This time, Town Board members are deciding whether to include a ban on drive-thru windows in the town's architectural overlay district, which includes Miranda's property. The district runs on both sides of North and South Buffalo streets from Southwestern Boulevard to Armor Duells, excluding the section inside the Village of Orchard Park.

"Where is the heart of the overlay district, but the busiest street in town?" said Planning Board Chairman Hal Fabinsky.

Being on a busy road is one of the main problems the town cites about the Tim Hortons project: concerns about its effect on traffic. Drive-thrus can pose a general problem, and the town expects more of them to be proposed.

But there are drive-thrus in Orchard Park, including at several of the seven Tim Hortons.

And Miranda, who owns another Tim Hortons in Orchard Park, said there is room for 21 cars to be lined up at the proposed restaurant before spilling onto the street.

"There's not another Tim Hortons that has 21 cars in line," he said.

 

He said he would have liked to have cars exit onto Armor Duells, but that has been ruled out by the state Department of Transportation. He said he has had two traffic studies done, and they determine there will not be a major traffic impact.

He said he looked into the property and bought it in 2013 because it was zoned for business.

"It's a perfect corner for a business, that's why it's zoned business," Miranda said. "If it wasn't zoned business, I wouldn't have gone there."

Several years ago, the Town Board decided that the shop, with a drive-thru window, would need the strictest environmental review, including a time-consuming and costly environmental impact statement. Miranda submitted a revised site plan with a smaller building that would not require the stringent review. But the town still required the stricter review.

Miranda sued, and won in State Supreme Court and the Appellate Division, and the Court of Appeals declined to consider a further appeal.

Miranda said he lives in Orchard Park, and does not want to have to sue the town again. He would seek monetary damages this time, he said.

"They can pass the local law, but they need to grandfather us in," Miranda said.

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