The fight goes on: Man wins another court decision in battle with Orchard Park over a Tim Hortons | Local News

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Ray Miranda used to say six years was a long time to wait for a cup of coffee. That was three years ago, and he’s still waiting to serve that first cup on Chestnut Ridge Road just outside the Village of Orchard Park.

But he might be getting closer.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court last week sided with him again in his fight with the Town of Orchard Park, refusing to overturn a lower court ruling that threw out a law banning drive-thru restaurants in that area.

Miranda has twice taken the town to State Supreme Court over its actions that he says are aimed at preventing the restaurant from being built.

“We’ve never lost, we won five times in court,” Miranda said. “I am not going to go away. I am in it to the end. It’s principle now.”

The Orchard Park resident first proposed building a Tim Hortons restaurant on Chestnut Ridge (Route 277) in 2013. The property remains vacant, and Miranda blames the town for that.

Officials from the town did not return telephone calls asking for their response to the decision.

Miranda filed a site plan in 2013 for a single-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 zoned commercial.

One of the major concerns town officials had was traffic on busy Chestnut Ridge Road. Miranda said two traffic studies did not come up with major objections to the proposal. He also said there will be room for 22 cars to wait in line on the property at the drive-thru window. 

In June 2014, the town included the parcel in its architectural overlay district along Buffalo Street/Chestnut Ridge Road. Later that year, the town passed a local law that would have required a lengthy environmental review. Miranda challenged the law. 

The following year, he won in State Supreme Court, a decision that was upheld by the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals in 2017.

In 2019, the town passed a local law banning drive-thrus in the architectural overlay district. 

State Supreme Court Justice Jeannette Ogden invalidated the law, ruling that the town did not follow the proper environmental procedure to enact it. And then the Appellate Division upheld her decision.

“Unfortunately, they just don’t like the project,” Miranda said of town officials, adding, “they don’t get to pick and choose what business gets to go there.”

He figures he could have generated more than $1 million in sales tax revenue and more than $300,000 in property taxes had he been able to build the restaurant eight years ago. 

Miranda, who owns eight other Tim Hortons, lives in the town, and said he does not want the town to keep spending money defending his claims.

“We don’t want to sue, we don’t want to continue doing this. We want you to let us go into a district zoned for business,” he said.

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