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Doughnuts get approval, pot needs more discussion at Buffalo Planning Board

Buffalo Planning Board
Rendering of the Tim Horton's planned for 474 Michigan Ave.

Buffalo's city Planning Board deals with a variety of issues. On Monday, the discussion included a doughnut shop and a cannabis factory on the waterfront.

Credit Buffalo Planning Board
Aerial view of the Flora Buffalo cannabis complex planned for the waterfront.

The biggest project is Flora Buffalo's factory on the waterfront, a $250 million complex that would grow marijuana and handle it all the way through the production process to material ready to sell. Of course, that's if Albany legalizes pot. Legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo say they want that, so that might happen.

Meanwhile, Flora is going through the process involved in building in an industrial park near a river. Senior Vice President Ryan Herrell said the company is assuming legalization as it plans.

"We're running parallel paths here, right? As Albany works to get legislation for legalization of recreational use, we're moving forward our project and our acquisition of the property from Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, going through these various entitlement procedures through the Planning Board," Herrell said.

Herrell said his company would like to be able to start construction by the end of this year. The project will come back to the Planning Board for a series of other needed approvals. The entire project will be discussed at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Southside Elementary School.

The other project discussed - a Tim Horton's at Michigan Avenue and William Street, in Buffalo's African American Heritage Corridor - received a lot of heat because it is a controversial project from Ellicott Development. Development Director Tom Fox said the building is in keeping with the neighborhood.

"It's quite a variance from a typical Tim Horton's that we would find, the way we've created more of an urban appearance with the building," said Fox. "We've kept the parking in the back, the drivethrough at the back, all sorts of things. Tim Horton's as well is committed to doing some unique things with their interior of the store that would talk to the African American Heritage Corridor."

The company received board approval after interior and exterior design changes to reflect its presence in corridor. Fox said it will be open late this year, with three apartments upstairs.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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