Ellicott Development requested at the July 18, 2018 Zoning Board of Appeals that the zoning law be changed to accommodate a drive through Tim Hortons at Michigan and William. Coppertown Block Club members and other concerned citizens made the case that the zoning should not be changed. A decision was tabled until the September meeting. At the September 24, 2018 ZBA meeting, community members spoke on not changing the zone law and the change to allow for the drive through was denied.
On November 20, 2018, the Zoning Board of Appeals met and the denial of a drive through was overturned. The decision is disgraceful and disrespectful to Black history, Black Buffalo, and anyone who cares about social justice and community!
Putting a Tim Hortons in the African American Heritage Corridor not only shows disrespect and disregard, but a complete lack of imagination and vision. Something needs to be there but not a drive thru Tim Hortons!
Citizens have made the case that they want the zoning code to stand for Michigan and William; that is, that a large driveway and drive through not be allowed. Michigan is promoted as a walkable tourist attraction of a historic corridor. Pedestrians who live in the area and tourists who will be visiting should not have to compete against drivers impatiently flying into a Tim Hortons to get their coffee and donuts. There is a reason the new Green Code does not allow for a drive through at that location and the residents ask that the Green Code be upheld. Instead the Zoning Board of Appeals overturned what was decided back in September. Whose comfort and convenience is being served by having a drive through Tim Hortons at Michigan and William? How was a decision made and recorded in September overturned in November without citizen forewarning and knowledge?
There is no question that infill is needed along the Corridor. But what should that infill look like? who should it serve? Concerns about neighborhood compatibility, aesthetics, fit, economic diversity, family friendliness, pedestrian safety, etc. are all legitimate concerns and need to have public input.
Neighbors of the Michigan Street Corridor and citizens from all of Buffalo interested in nurturing the historic corridor to tell its story in a respectful way, should contact Councilman Pridgen at (716) 851-5105 and give your opinions. John Fell of the Planning Division should also be contacted at 851-4533. Remember, there are no done deals until the community is heard. And the community cannot be heard if we remain silent. You have a right in determining how Michigan Avenue will look.