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Dunkin Donuts gets New Parking Variance

Zoning board votes 3-1 to grant variance to allow parking space near University Drive

The Dunkin' Donuts planned for East Main Street could be open by this time next year.

The Kent Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-1 Monday to grant a 17.5 foot variance from the city's 20-foot front yard landscaping strip requirement to allow a parking space to be 2.5 feet from the front property line on University Drive.

Ken Bloom, the franchisee who will run the shop, said they haven't closed yet on the two properties needed for construction: 525 E. Main St. and 114 University Drive.

"But we’re anticipating closing by the end of the year on both," Bloom said. "If all goes as planned … in a perfect world we’d like to be in position to break ground when the snow breaks."

Construction could start as early as January or, the latest, April with a 90 day to 120 day construction period.

Monday's zoning board approval came with opposition from a neighbor.

Sally Burnell, a tenant at 114 University Drive, said she is one of five tenants who will be evicted so the house can be demolished to make room for the new Dunkin' Donuts.

But that's not the only reason Burnell opposed the project. She also pointed to the neighboring businesses, which also have drive-thru windoes, and suggested a third drive-thru would lead to increased traffic congestion and a potentially dangerous situation for drivers.

Several of the zoning board members said they sympathized with Burnell's situation.

"But the owner has made a decision to sell the house," zoning board member Paul Sellman said. "And that is not the matter of this variance."

Zoning board member Steve Balazs said he agreed with Burnell on the potential for drive-thru traffic congestion.

"I think it’s going to create problems," he said. "It’s a public safety issue in my opinion."

Balazs, though, voted to approve the variance with Sellman and zoning board member Dave Mail. Chairperson Elizabeth Howard voted against issuing the ordinance.

The project and initial site plan was approved by the zoning board, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"look-dunkin-donuts-new-kent-design"} --> and

William B Budner ESQ. September 18, 2012 at 07:23 PM
poor poor sally...the sword cuts both ways.
Linda UmBayemake September 18, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Congestion Congestion Congestion, Just check out other Dunkin Donuts look at the room involved even the little one off Steel Corners Road has more room. The person sold the house for money not sentiment putting people on eviction status. What do they care about the congestion.
Paxton Crenshaw September 18, 2012 at 08:30 PM
ha ha ha. END OF DISCUSSION!
Paxton Crenshaw September 18, 2012 at 08:34 PM
i suspect there will be less congestion than when the location housed a gas station. congestion will not be an issue.
William B Budner ESQ. September 18, 2012 at 08:39 PM
paxton, i believe sally and linda want to leave the space alone, let it be a "natural setting" a place where slabs of concrete can sleep in peace, an oasis in a busy place.
Misty Jones September 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Paying rent has no precedence over the owner's rights to sell. The owner wants to sell to Dunkin Donuts. What right did you have to try to stop him in light of your own comments in multiple posts? Incidentally, how much sweat equity, investment, and care did you put into the ugly vacant lot next to your rented place? The green space supporters have good karma and good attitudes at least. Some people never learn.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! September 19, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Oh boy, more drive thrus. We are the "men without legs". If you're going to eat lard laden doughnuts, shouldn't you at least attempt to burn a few calories by getting your fat butt out of our car and walking into the building? Sitting in your car as it idles and then sitting in your car as you eat fried balls of goo isn't doing anyone any favors.

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