Dunkin' Donuts explores redesign

MANCHESTER - A new preliminary design for the Dunkin' Donuts currently located just off of Route 7A in Manchester was presented in front of both the Design Review Board and the Development Review Boards on Wednesday, Feb. 6. No formal application has yet been filed, however.

David Shelburne, of MT Associates based out of Rutland, stressed the fact that the designs are very preliminary and that they are still being worked on as they have taken guidance from the DRB and will continue to improve the design.

Shelburne presented a design that would have two separate buildings on that plot of land. One of the buildings would be primarily a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant while the other building would provide two car wash bays, one being self-service and the other an automatic car wash.

"We believe that this site has an opportunity to upgrade the retail area and services to our customers. We expect this building to be about 1,000 square feet smaller than the current building with upgrades to the gas services, car wash area, and food service business while removing the convenience store business," he said.

The design also includes a change in the direction of the traffic entering the car wash bays. Currently, you enter the one automatic car wash from the north. With the addition of a second car wash bay the idea is the have cars enter from the south since there is more space on that side of the site.

"To improve traffic flow it is better to have cars enter the site from the south. Through the data that we collected we noticed that most of the traffic enters our site from the south," said Shelburne. "There is also more space on the south side of the site."

Two vacuum stations might also be placed just before the entrance to the car wash bays, Shelburne said.

The Dunkin' Donuts portion of the site might also include a drive-thru window, also moving traffic south to north. Alan Benoit, of the Design Review Board, had some concerns with the addition of a second drive-thru restaurant in town.

"I have a few concerns with the drive-thru portion," said Benoit. "One is that adding a drive-thru will increase trash and litter in the area. Our current drive-thru has littered items around town and I'm afraid a second will increase the amount of litter in town."

In response, Shelburne added that most of the items Dunkin' Donuts provides are environmentally friendly and that almost all items that are not food are second generation, meaning they are made from recycled materials.

Benoit also said that he was worried about the increased noise coming from the drive-thru as it relates to the speaker in which Dunkin' Donuts and the customer communicates.

"There are at least four or five houses behind the Dunkin' Donuts site," he said. "I just wasn't sure that the speakers would be quite enough so those houses would not be bothered by it. I have a friend in another state who has that problem of being able to hear a drive-thru speaker from his house."

Parking spaces at the site would also change, providing parking directly around the Dunkin' Donuts building which would increase safety and traffic flow in the area.

"Safety is always our number one concern," said Shelburne. "By keeping the parking spaces close to and around the Dunkin' Donuts building, it will reduce pedestrians walking across where the vehicle traffic will be."

At the end of the DRB meeting, the board encouraged Shelburne to work on submitting a formal application to the DRB when they are ready to propose the upgrade to the site.


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