Dunkin Donuts Site Plan Approved
Planning commission wants to see landscaping changes
The Dunkin' Donuts planned for 525 E. Main St. received approval of its site plan from the Kent Planning Commission Tuesday.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the project with several conditions, including approval of a landscaping plan that must come back to the commission for a later vote.
Several members of the commission said they wanted to see improvements to the landscaping.
Commission member Peter Paino said unlike its neighbors the Dunkin' Donuts has very minimal landscaping.
"There's zero landscaping on site," Paino said.
Kent Bloom, the franchisee who will run the shop, said the Kent store, unlike other Dunkin' Donuts locations, features outdoor patio seating.
"At our other locations, this (space) tends to be landscaping," he said.
Bloom added that they could replace the patio area with greenspace.
The other conditions included a self-regulating noise reduction system on the drive-thru speaker and the addition of several bike racks.
The project was opposed by neighbor Sally Burnell, who rents in the house north of the site. Burnell and several other tenants must move so the house can be demolished for the new eatery.
Burnell suggested Dunkin' Donuts rent parking spaces from the neighboring Wendy's in order to avoid having to demolish the house.
"I am on a fixed income," she said. "This apartment is the only thing between me and homelessness."
Bloom said he didn't explore the option but said it likely wouldn't work because both businesses are competitors.
Commission member John Gargan said he sympathised with Burnell but that the planning commission couldn't intervene.
"I understand your concerns and I feel for you, but I believe this is a permitted use restaurant, and based on the guidelines we have to follow there’s very little leeway to consider trying to stop a private property transaction," he said.