By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – A proposed drive-through for the Dunkin” Donuts store located at 35 East Main St. was rejected by the Board of Selectmen at its Sept. 13 meeting.
The members of the board, as they have in past meetings, cited safety concerns as their main reason for the denial.
Selectman Leigh Emery, in her motion to deny the site plan, said not only did the Planning Board have concerns, but both the fire and police chiefs had “distinct public safety concerns” as well.
The store, which opened in 2002, is located on Route 30, and borders Colonial Drive. It is near the town's rotary, Baystate Commons and the CSX bridge.
The original plans had called for a drive-through to be installed, but those plans were not approved at that time. If the new site plan review had passed, the store would have had a drive-through lane start across from the parking lot entrance, and then loop around the building and exit back out to Colonial Drive.
At the meeting, no officials from Dunkin” Donuts were present. According to Emery, they sent a letter stating they would not be in attendance.
Members of the board, in their discussion about the matter, expressed surprise and disapproval that no Dunkin” Donuts officials were present. They each also reiterated their stances against the proposal, with each selectman citing public safety concerns as their main reason for nixing the proposal.
Some of the specific concerns the board had noted in prior meetings include: a lack of a bypass lane in the proposal; cars backing up onto Colonial Drive and even Route 30; little space for cars to back up if the drive-through lane was congested; emergency personnel not being able to get through heavy traffic; and delivery truck parking issues.
Two Westborough residents appeared before the board at the Sept. 13 meeting to state their objections to the proposal. Gail Fanselow read a statement on behalf of her husband Dr. Dan Fanselow, who owns Family Chiropractic of Westboro, 6 Colonial Drive, which is near the Dunkin” Donuts store.
Another resident, Marsha Golden, said she was against the proposal as well.
Town Counsel Gregory Franks noted that it was rare that a site plan review was denied. To do so, the selectmen must have very strong reasons for denying it, he added.
Selectman George Thompson asked Franks if he thought Dunkin” Donuts would appeal the decision. Franks replied that it was possible and that the matter would end up going to Superior Court if they did appeal.
Lydia Goldblatt, the board's chair, noted that she had been on the board since 2000, “but this was the first time I can ever remember a site plan not being passed.”
“My own personal judgment is that this is an unsafe place to have a drive-through,” she added. “But we relied on the judgments of our town department heads as well. We'se been as fair as we can be.”
The board denied the site plan approval, 5-0.