UPDATE ON TIM HORTON’S COFFEE DRIVE THROUGH AND THE COPPERTOWN BLOCK CLUB “The community can help by attending the hearing & press conference”Hearing has been set for Wednesday, July 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Erie County Court, located at 25 Delaware Avenue, 2nd floor, Part 15. A press conference will be held at the courthouse immediately following the hearing.
*Pictured above L/R are Geneva Johnson and Gail Wells
In May residents of the Copper Town neighborhood announced that they had filed an Article 78 petition against the City of Buffalo Planning Board to undo the city’s March 25 approval of a development plan that includes a drive-through Tim Hortons at the corner of Michigan and William.
“We are fighting for the residents of a vibrant neighborhood who deserve a walkable, beautiful, safe community,” said Gail V. Wells, who, along with Geneva Johnson and Marcia Baker, filed the petition.
After two postponements, a hearing has been set for Wednesday, July 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Erie County Court, located at 25 Delaware Avenue, 2nd floor, Part 15. A press conference will be held at the courthouse immediately following the hearing.
“The community can help by attending the hearing and press conference” urged Ms. Wells. “This is not about coffee! It is about the Green Code, following the law, safety, self determination, historic preservation, public input, following procedures, walkability and environmental impacts.”
“New drive throughs are prohibited by the current Green Code,” she continued, “ The zoning board did not initially grant Ellicott Development a variance to build a drive through. Ellicott Development went to court to have the Zoning Board’s decision over-turned. Now that parking lot must be safe. I demand that the Developer follows the law!”
According to the Article 78, Ellicott Development presented a plan for the parking lot without including the necessary traffic calming measures, pedestrian safeguards, bicycle amenities and other safety elements required by law. The stretch of Michigan from Clinton to Broadway which includes the Copper Town neighborhood has been the site of numerous accidents in recent weeks.
An article 78 proceeding provides a way to challenge the rulings of administrative agencies, public bodies or officers. The body is the City of Buffalo Planning Board. The petitioners are claiming that the parking lot and drive through are not safe and that the developer did not follow the procedures set in place to ensure proper review by the public and other city departments.
A petition drive was also launched calling on Council President Darius Pridgen to take action on behalf of his constituents and stop the proposed drive thru coffee shop. To sign the petition go to firstname.lastname@example.org
“The taxpaying residents of Copper Town support economic development but we expect the law to be followed,” Ms. Wells says. “The neighborhood’s 100 homeowners have invested significant personal resources in the development of our community. We’re developers too!”
“Our neighbor, Copper Town, which shares the same zip code, has a development approved by the City of Buffalo Planning Board that required a variance; was only granted the variance through the reversal of a ZBA decision; and fails to provide ‘Long term priorities [such as] … neighborhood traffic calming measures, pedestrian and bicycle amenities, and streetscape improvements” according to the Green Code,’” stated community activist Veronica Hemphill-Nichols( See Voices Page 15).
“A 21st Century city needs to be walkable, ecological, and fair,” she continued. “ The Green Code purports to be this and the City of Buffalo is proud of the awards the zoning code wins. Now if only the City would enforce and live up to the laws it enacts, there may actually be a renaissance for all.” -By Staff Writer