Amherst Wants New Businesses To Install Barriers

8:50 AM, Sep 27, 2011   |    comments
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Amherst is considering requiring new businesses to install these barriers.

AMHERST, N.Y. - In the wake of a deadly accident, the Town of Amherst has begun the process of requiring new businesses to install concrete-filled barriers outside their buildings to protect them from vehicles.

"I think that it's wishful thinking to say that people are just going to be proactive when something happens," Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette said. "It's not always the case."

Nine days after the vehicle of a 74 year old woman crashed through the window of the Cheeburger, Cheeburger restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard killing a couple from Wilson, the Amherst Town Board passed a measure directing its planning director to start drafting an ordinance that would require the installation of barriers.

The change will not impact buildings currently under construction.

According to Marlette, there have been more than 30 accidents in the town in the last two years where a vehicle has crashed into a business. Despite the crashes, Marlette said that property owners are not taking additional safety measures.

Several other business use what are known as "bollards" which are posts filled with concrete. The posts will prevent a vehicle from crashing into a building.

Although not affected by the change, some small business owners are not comfortable with it.

"And it's a tragic accident but, at this point, we may be overreacting to the situation," said Jim Grenauer, owner of the Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville. "I think that it's a big burden on small businesses to have these extra safety features."

REPORTER: Some people may look at this and say, "You know what, it's horrible that this has happened in some places, but do we really need another rule and another regulation to remedy this?"

MARLETTE: Now, people would say those owners that experienced that would take care of that themselves. We have two buildings. One is a car wash that has been hit three times in a year and a half, and has done nothing to protect those big open windows that are there. And another is a medical office building, whose patients actually came for appointments and drove into the building, and they've done nothing to protect those buildings as well.

The board is expected to vote on the ordinance before the end of the year.

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