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UPDATE: Dunkin' Donuts Proposed at Former Gas Station Site

Zoning board will hear variance requests for property next to Wendy's, across from Kent State University

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.

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 , 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.

Chris (Kit) Myers May 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Hooray! A Dunkin Donuts! The best apple fritter in the world! I hope this proposal can be worked out.
G Myers May 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM
I'll second that!
Zeek LeMeek May 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM
After they construct a new building how much room will remain for parking? In my humble opinion that plot is too small for a Dunkin Donuts.
Terry May 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM
DD have quick customer turnarounds so that should alleviate some concerns. Also, that spot has been an eyesore forever, so it's nice to develop it, although I wish DD had a greener design instead of the garish colors..
terri1103 May 11, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Great idea!!
Matt Fredmonsky May 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Everyone commenting here seems to like it, but everyone commenting on our Facebook page seems to not like the idea. http://www.facebook.com/KentPatch
Diane Gwyn May 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
More white flour and white sugar!!! Would like to see a healthier choice in Kent.
Wilburforce May 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Another GAS station.....but I like the coffee!
Margaret Garmon May 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Love their coffee! Hope DD will have a drive through.
bill budner May 11, 2012 at 04:37 PM
it's better than what's there, and i bet there aren't many other offers or ideas coming down the pike. do it.
Rich Nageotte May 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
The DD out on W. Main in the early 70's seemed to be very successful, even though it was a few miles from the campus. This location should be good for the community and the franchisee.
Diane Gwyn May 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Good for the franchise but good for the community? In what way? We already have several amazing coffee spots in town. We also have several places on E. Main where you can get donuts. I would like to see a healthy bakery with whole grain flours and healthy sweeteners instead of what you can get anywhere or another non-junk food place close to campus.
Paxton Crenshaw May 12, 2012 at 03:04 AM
you want a whole grain bakery with healthy sweeteners then open one. (and i'm vegan, so spare me your preaching). not everyone wants a healthy doughnut and therefore, dunkin' donuts fits the bill! and to everyone else whining about how we already have coffee joints in kent - why would you care how many other places there are to get doughnuts or coffee in kent? more is better and good for the community. always.
Rich Nageotte May 12, 2012 at 03:41 AM
If memory serves, during the period when DD was across town, the Gas Town on that site was in a gas war, selling regular at about 17 cents a gallon in the summer of '71 or '72. How much is Dunkin' Donuts coffee nowadays?
Diane Gwyn May 12, 2012 at 05:05 PM
P.C., Not everyone who needs or whats something can "open one." I would support it, and promote it but others have the talent to start one. I think that could be a good location. I do think you can have too many of anything. I don't mind that there are numerous coffee places and outlets for donuts but I do think we should have a choice and whole grain and natural sweetener are my choice. There are not enough places to get that need met. Everyone has the right to eat whatever they choice however I want another choice. Respectfully, D.G.
Hoser May 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Open your own dang coffee and donut shop then.
Insanelysmartguy May 18, 2012 at 07:44 PM
If you start making donuts out of whole wheat, you're going to end up with bagels instead.
Diane Gwyn May 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM
If the donuts end up like bagels the person making them does not know how to work with whole grains. The choice of DD will make enough people happy but there are others like myself that desire something different. I will be glad to comment on replies that address the real issue of healthier and alternative choices.
Matt Fredmonsky May 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The Kent Board of Zoning Appeals granted all six variances for the project on Monday, May 21, 2012. Here's the story: http://kent.patch.com/articles/dunkin-donuts

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