MARLBOROUGH – Efforts to open one of the region’s first Raising Cane’s locations in Marlborough are again moving forward after parties agreed to settle an appeal filed by representatives of a nearby McDonald location.
City Solicitor Jason Grossfield then announced that the appeal was dismissed in a letter to the council on March 8.
“This is very good news for the City Council and the city,” said City Councilor Kathleen Robey during a March 14 meeting.
Raising Cane’s special permit
Raising Cane’s applied for a special permit last year to construct a restaurant with two drive-through lanes at 141 Boston Post Road West.
The project has progressed, despite concerns from the nearby McDonald’s at 155 Boston Post Road about potential traffic impacts.
McDonald’s attorneys have argued that all the traffic entering and exiting Raising Cane’s must pass through McDonald’s driveways.
“McDonald’s has significant concerns regarding potential traffic impacts, on-site vehicle circulation, safety and parking, which have not been addressed by Raising Cane’s which could affect McDonald’s,” Kenneth Cram, who is the director of traffic engineering at Bayside Engineering, wrote in a letter to the City Council in July.
Cram had asked the City Council to require Raising Cane’s to conduct a traffic impact and access study. He also asked that Raising Cane’s review the site’s circulation.
A Raising Cane’s consultant presented a traffic assessment memorandum that same month and concluded that the project wouldn’t have a significant impact on the operation of either the driveway itself or the McDonald’s location.
But, McDonald’s lawyers argued in their appeal that the memorandum didn’t address the impact of traffic on the circulation of the site and nearby intersections.
McDonald’s had also requested five conditions be placed on Raising Cane’s special permit.
Raising Cane’s attorney told the committee that his clients were willing to incorporate two of the conditions, which involved having vehicles merge into a single line before exiting the drive-through and installing a yield or stop sign at the exit of the drive-through.
The remaining conditions were not included in updated plans that the Urban Affairs Committee forwarded to the full City Council.
Ultimately, in August, the committee recommended that the City Council approve the special permit.
City Council did so by a 10-1 margin on Sept. 13, with Councilor Mark Oram voting “no.”
That came after McDonald’s wrote a letter, reiterating its opposition to the permit.
At the time, Oram suggested referring the permit back to the Urban Affairs Committee, which he said should meet with the two parties.
The case had then been before the state land court since October.
Judge Robert Foster approved a joint motion from Raising Cane’s and McDonald’s in February, to suspend the proceedings “pending finalization of a settlement agreement entered into between the parties.”
“The parties have reached a tentative settlement agreement which requires further action on the party of the City of Marlborough related to the approval of certain modified site plans,” the motion said.
A joint stipulation of dismissal without prejudice was filed in March.
Marlborough Building Commissioner Tin Htway told the Community Advocate last week that Raising Cane’s will now need a demolition permit to move forward with its plans, which involve demolishing an existing structure at 141 Boston Post Road.
Representatives of the restaurant had not applied for that permit as of March 16.
Once they have their permit, crews will need to complete work, including disconnecting utilities. They will be able to demolish the building once that work is completed.
Raising Cane’s would then be able to obtain a building permit once it finishes demolition work, according to Htway.