Ray Miranda used to say that six years was a long time to wait for a cup of coffee. That was three years ago, and he’s still waiting to pour his first cup on Chestnut Ridge Road, just outside the Village of Orchard Park.
But he could be getting closer.
The State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division last week sided with him again in his fight with the city of Orchard Park, refusing to overturn a lower court decision that struck down a law banning drive-thru restaurants in that state. area.
Miranda has twice taken the city to the State Supreme Court over his actions, which he says are aimed at preventing the restaurant from being built.
“We’ve never lost, we’ve won five times in court,” Miranda said. “I’m not leaving. I’m in it until the end. It’s a beginning now.”
The Orchard Park resident first proposed building a Tim Hortons restaurant on Chestnut Ridge (Route 277) in 2013. The property remains empty, and Miranda blames the city for that.
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City officials did not return phone calls asking for their response to the decision.
Miranda submitted a land plan in 2013 for a one-story retail building for a Tim Hortons restaurant with a drive-thru window on nearly an acre of land at the corner of Chestnut Ridge (Route 277) and Armor Duells roads. The property is a commercial area.
One of the main concerns of city officials was traffic on busy Chestnut Ridge Road. Miranda said two traffic studies raised no major objections to the proposal. He also said there will be space for 22 cars to wait in line at the property at the drive-thru window.
In June 2014, the city added the lot to its architectural overlay district along Buffalo Street/Chestnut Ridge Road. Later that year, the city passed a local law that would require a lengthy environmental review. Miranda defied the law.
The following year, he won in the Federal Supreme Court, a decision that was upheld by the Chamber of Appeals and the Court of Justice in 2017.
In 2019, the city passed a local law banning drive-thrus in the architectural penthouse district.
State Supreme Court Justice Jeannette Ogden overturned the law, ruling that the city did not follow proper environmental procedure to enact it. And so the Appellate Division upheld its decision.
“Unfortunately, they just don’t like the project,” Miranda said of city officials, adding that “they can’t choose which businesses go there.”
He calculates that he could have generated more than $1 million in sales tax revenue and more than $300,000 in property taxes if he had built the restaurant eight years ago.
Miranda, who owns eight other Tim Hortons, lives in the city and said he doesn’t want the city to continue spending money defending its claims.
“We don’t want to sue, we don’t want to keep doing this. We want you to let us into a business district,” he said.