Editor's note: this story was updated at 9:50 a.m. May 11.
A Kent architecture firm has proposed building a new Dunkin Donuts at a vacant former gas station site across from the Kent State University front campus.
David Sommers and Associates has asked the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals for seven variances in order to build a two-story doughnut shop at 525 E. Main St.
The architecture firm could potentially buy the property in order to build a 3,111 square foot building with operations, restrooms and seating on the first floor and additional seating only on the second floor, according to city planning documents.
The property has been owned for 22 years by Gastown Incorporated of Delaware, which has a mailing address in Findlay, OH, according to the Portage County Auditor's Office. Through the years, the land has been home to various gas station and convenience store operations, but the space has been vacant for almost a decade since the last gas station there closed.
The proposal has the support of Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith, who said the size of the lot has proved challenging to other businesses who considered redeveloping it.
"Other interested parties have asked if the lot could be expanded by purchasing land to the north, (in the) neighborhood," Smith said. "This proposal would not require additional property and would eliminate an unattractive vacant property.
"There is little room for expansion and parking," he said. "If the site is to be put back into productive use, it will need to be a business that can survive under these conditions. I think Dunkin Donuts might be a good fit with front campus, quick pick-up and foot traffic."
The architecture firm's seven variance requests, according to the Kent Community Development Department, are:
- An 18-foot variance from the 30-foot minimum rear yard setback to allow a new building to be constructed 12 feet from the rear yard property line.
- A 16.83-foot variance from the 20-foot front yard landscaping strip requirement to allow a parking area to be 3.17 feet from the front property line along West Main Street.
- A 17.5-foot variance from the 20-foot front yard landscaping strip requirement to allow a parking area to be 2.5 feet from the front property line along University Drive.
- A 5-foot variance from the 5-foot rear yard landscaping strip requirement to allow a parking area to be 0 feet from the rear property line.
- A variance from (city code) section 1167.05(b)(5) to allow 7 parking spaces where 10 spaces are required.
- A variance from Section 1165.05(c)(2)(A) to allow a total of 5 signs, where 2 signs are permitted.
- A variance from Section 1165.05(c)(2)(C) to allow a total of 248.64 square feet of signage, where 100 square feet maximum is permitted.
The zoning board is scheduled to hear and vote on the proposal at its Monday, May 21, meeting.