Westborough selectmen approve Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through
By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Westborough – A continuance of a site plan approval for a proposed drive-through window for a Dunkin’ Donuts store was held at the Westborough Board of Selectmen’s Aug. 21 meeting. The hearing had been scheduled to take place during the board’s July 17 meeting but was rescheduled at the request of the applicants’ attorney. The store, which opened in 2002, is located at 35 E. Main St. (Route 30), and borders Colonial Drive.
Negotiations between town officials and Dunkin’ Donuts representatives had been at loggerheads for several years. The donut shop has been trying to get approval for a drive-through while neighbors and other townspeople have protested what they predict to be a traffic and abutters’ nightmare. Town officials had cited a number of reasons at prior meetings why they are against the proposal, including the lack of a bypass lane for traffic, cars backing up onto Colonial Drive and Route 30, little space for cars to back up if the drive-through lane was congested, a lack of access for emergency personnel, increased traffic, delivery problems, and truck parking issues.
The original site plan was rejected in September 2011, and the applicant then filed a claim in Land Court, which remanded the issue back to the selectmen for further review.
At the Aug. 21 meeting, Attorney Donald Borenstein represented the restaurant owners. He then discussed with the selectmen the issues of traffic lane construction, emergency vehicle access, the need for police details to control traffic, and creating a space in which to store plowed snow. Borenstein first disputed the need for a snow storage area or the need to create a fourth traffic lane to control drive-through traffic, noting that no easement exists for such use of the land. He then objected for the need for police details to control traffic or that queuing of traffic at the drive-through would be a problem. His calculations indicate that such queuing would be a problem only eight percent of the time on the busiest days during the busiest season.
Board chair Leigh Emery stated that she was in favor of giving Police Chief Alan Gordon the discretion to order extra details when he saw fit. Selectman Denny Drewry stated that he would not approve any plan that left issues unresolved, while Selectman Ian Johnson asked that any approval be done based on this night’s negotiations. At the end of the discussion, the board members noted the plan was undesirable but could not be rejected under existing bylaws.
In a 4-1 vote, with Drewry dissenting, the site plan was approved. As part of the approval process, the applicant will still need to comply with all the mandated requirements of all appropriate town boards.
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