By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Should there be a Dunkin” Donuts downtown? This question was asked several times during a public hearing held by the City Council Oct. 21 as they addressed revised plans for a drive-thru at the 54 Main St. restaurant, at the corner of Cotting Avenue. Although there was no opposition expressed by residents or business owners during the hearing, several councilors posed questions on traffic, parking and noise generated by delivery trucks to the property during early morning hours.
Attorney Arthur Bergeron, representing David Carls, owner of the property, stated that they had been working for several months with city department heads, city officials and residents to produce a plan that would be acceptable to all. The new plan has been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals with variances placing restrictions on the time delivery and garbage trucks would be allowed. Other variances were imposed for parking on Cotting Avenue and controlling the number of cars backing up onto Main Street while waiting at the drive-thru.
Bergeron said provisions have been made to keep the line moving and keeping back up of cars at a minimum. If a customer has a large order, they will be moved to a special “waiting” area to allow others to pass through at an approximate 2.5-minute service time.
If granted, the special permit would allow for tearing down the existing structure and building a new one along with the drive-thru window. Ward 5 City Councilor Rob Seymour, who spoke in favor of the new plan, said:? “It's an absolute dump now. This is a huge improvement over what is there.”
Council President Trish Pope stated that she did not feel that this type of facility fits in with the city's economic development plans. “I don's think this will do anything to help develop Main Street,” she said. “It is cosmetically an improvement for downtown,” countered Ward 2 City Councilor Richard Jenkins.
Councilor-at-Large Mark Oram suggested a study be conducted by the city's traffic engineer and a report given at the Urban Affairs Committee meeting where the special permit application will be reviewed.
“Drive-thrus don's belong on Main Street,” he said, suggesting that people should walk to the establishment rather than drive.
Attorney Doug Rowe, whose law office is located on Cotting Avenue, spoke in favor of the special permit during the public hearing, expressing his acceptance of the revised plan.