MANCHESTER - Plans have moved forward concerning renovations for the Dunkin Donuts and adjoining car wash on Main Street, according to Manchester Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Lee Krohn.

After several meetings of the Development Review Board, at which David Shelburne of MT Associates in Rutland presented his preliminary designs of the renovation, the hearings have been closed and the architectural designs have been approved. The next step requires the DRB to approve the renovations in writing, and they have 45 days to do so.

"I thought the board was very receptive," said Shelburne, "and I have been heeding all their suggestions.

Dunkin Donuts may be seeing some visual changes to the interior and exterior of their store and car wash operation on Main Street soon.
Dunkin Donuts may be seeing some visual changes to the interior and exterior of their store and car wash operation on Main Street soon. (Andrew McKeever Photo)
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The proposed buildings will split the current, single building into two smaller ones, with the Dunkin Donuts standing at 1,280 square feet and the car wash at 1,440 square feet, according to Krohn. However, they will remain in a similar spot on the current land due to the mechanics of the car wash that are already in place.

"The buildings are gorgeous," said Shelburne. "They are New England style and the colors were all approved - lots of greens and olives highlighted with Vermont slate and copper tops."

The interior of the coffee shop will have more of a café feel to it, with seating for approximately 12, and will be painted in warm-toned colors.

The design will continue to take into account the data previously collected regarding the natural flow of traffic, south to north, and will place its entrances and exits accordingly. Krohn had expressed at the meeting that they do not anticipate frequent traffic issues caused by cars trying to enter and exit the new drive-thru, and Shelburne added that the flow will actually be improved. Krohn also pointed out that the new angle of the car wash will allow for better visibility into the building, thus eliminating the chance of pulling into the lot only to find an impassable queue of cars.

Shelburne mentioned that the car washes will be upgraded to be more environmentally sound, using less water and producing a smaller carbon footprint.

The latest, and approved, version of the designs also have touched upon prior concerns from residential and commercial neighbors.

The two buildings, in conjunction, will create a gap for the placement of a drive-thru window. In the most recent hearing, the concern of the volume of the speaker was addressed with the assurance that the volume was adjustable and would not be loud enough to affect neighbors both residential and commercial. The speaker will be mounted directly into the wall of the building, rather than a free-standing speaker, and its position between the two buildings will also help to dampen the sound.

In addition to the volume generated from the speaker, there had been some worry that there would be too much noise coming from the two car washes, specifically from the high-pressure air dryers. The DRB advised Shelburne that the addition of doors on each bay would drastically reduce the amount of sound carried to the car wash's neighbors, and in the subsequent meeting Shelburne had added doors to his design. One residential neighbor was very comfortable with the measures taken to lower the noise emitted from the building.

A second concern that was brought up in a previous meeting, from Alan Benoit of the Design Review Board, involved the potential for added litter around the building, and the town, from the drive-thru.

Benoit had said that the town's other drive-thru had caused litter and was afraid that a second location would only increase the amount found around town. However, Krohn said that there are no zoning laws that involve the potential of added litter from a business. Shelburne expressed that he thinks this work from local businesses is a good fit.

"MT Associated and Donuts of Rutland have been businesses as a part of the community for over 28 years," he said. "We think this will not only bring needed services to the community, but it will also enhance the retail corner at Route 7A."

After the written approval from the DRB, Shelburne then has a 30-day appeal period; and, after the period ends, the DRB's approval is good for three years, during which construction may begin. The exact start of the construction is currently unknown and relies on the "scope of the recommendations from the board," according to Shelburne.

"By all means, if everything goes as planned we could start work in September," said Shelburne.