Property on Union Road in Cheektowaga that was partially developed for a retail business is the proposed site of a retro, drive-thru restaurant.
Checkers, which has a location in Buffalo Niagara International Airport, is looking to open in a stand-alone building at 2563 Union Road, south of Losson Road. The property is owned by Benderson Development Co.
Measuring just 940 square feet, the restaurant won’t have indoor seating. There would be a walk-up window and some outdoor seating.
Otherwise, the restaurant would rely largely on drive-thru business, which has some people concerned about traffic congestion and the potential for more accidents in that area.
Eight accidents occurred at the intersection of Union and Losson in 2010, according to Capt. James Speyer, a spokesman for the police department. There were 21 in 2011, 19 in 2012 and six so far this year, as of late March.
Earlier this year, a Rochester firm conducted a traffic study that compared the site’s proposed use as a drive-thru restaurant to the 7,291 square-foot retail space approved – but never built – several years ago. It concluded there would be “minimal and unnoticeable” impact on levels of service and capacity at adjacent intersections and driveways, and that there is sufficient on-site space for vehicles to line up at the drive-thru.
Daniel J. Ulatowski, the town’s planner, agrees. “I do not see any anticipated traffic problems,” he said. He noted that the driveways serving the site exist and the consultant determined there is sufficient room for vehicles to line up on site and in the center turning lane for left-hand turns into the restaurant.
The town’s Traffic Safety Commission has recommended approving the project.
However, Ulatowski said the restaurant could cause potential noise nuisances for two houses immediately south of the site. Under current zoning, those houses are lawful, non-conforming uses that were grandfathered in.
After a neighbor voiced his opposition to anything being built on the site, Checkers offered to erect an 8-foot-high fence along the property line and put plants along the fence.
The Planning Board is expected to vote on the site plan when it meets next Thursday. Meanwhile, the Town Board has scheduled a July 15 public hearing on a special-use permit and variance requested for the project.
The special-use permit relates to having a drive-thru window, while the variance is needed because the 10-foot space between the edge of the pavement of the bypass lane and neighboring residential property is less than the required 75 feet.