Tim Hortons prides itself on fast service for customers.
So it's particularly galling to Ray Miranda, who wants to open a Tim Hortons with a drive-thru in Orchard Park, that it is going on seven years and he still has not served a cup of coffee there.
And now he is taking the town to court, after the Town Board banned drive-thrus in the Route 277 overlay district that includes the corner of Chestnut Ridge and Armor Duells roads where he has proposed a Tim Hortons restaurant. The town's action essentially killed the project, but Miranda is hoping for a court-ordered resurrection.
He's not only asking for a State Supreme Court justice to overrule the town, he's also asking for damages and attorney's fees.
"It's a real shame it's come to this," said Peter J. Sorgi, the attorney for Miranda. "We’ve been here before with the town. It's very clear they're going to keep on targeting us."
But the town disagrees.
"The town intends to defend that lawsuit vigorously," Orchard Park Town Attorney John Bailey said. "They're serious about the regulations that apply to that corner and we’ll stand behind them."
For the town, banning drive-thrus on in the architectural overlay district, which includes sections of Route 277 (Buffalo Street/Chestnut Ridge Road) outside the village from Southwestern Boulevard to Armor Duells Road, helps relieve traffic through the busiest street in town.
Proposals at the corner of Chestnut Ridge and Armor Duells roads have generated controversy for at least 20 years.
In 2000, the town changed the zoning after a developer proposed a gas station and convenience store on the property. The new zone would have prevented the gas station. The owner successfully challenged the town's action in State Supreme Court.
Miranda has had the site plan for the restaurant before the town since 2013, according to court papers. The property is nearly 1 acre at 4956 and 4968 Chestnut Ridge Road.
In 2014, the town changed its local law that, in effect, required a building with a drive-thru to submit a costly environmental impact statement. Miranda challenged that action and won in State Supreme Court and the Appellate Division. The Court of Appeals declined to hear the town's appeal in 2017, giving Miranda another victory on that case.
Miranda's latest challenge maintains the town dragged its feet in considering the proposal until it introduced a new regulation that would ban drive-thrus in the architectural overlay district that includes his property. The Town Board approved that law last September.
"By continually and systematically delaying the project for over six years in an egregious manner which required coordination by numerous town officials, the town and Town Board," the town caused pecuniary damages, court papers said. There is no amount of damage listed, but Sorgi estimated that without the town's delay, the restaurant could have been operating the last four years.