Subway Appeals Dropped

MANCHESTER - A round of legal appeals against a decision originally reached last September by the Development Review Board over whether a "Subway" restaurant should adhere to expanded parking requirements and be considered a "fast food" restaurant may have reached a conclusion.

Ed Dublois, managing partner of Equinox Square Associates, said that all appeals have been dropped by both parties. He and managing partner, Peter Keelan, dropped their appeal of Manchester Pizza House's outdoor seating in the old Friendly's building and Saronis LLC is expected to drop their appeal of the Development Review Board's decision in Vermont State Superior court Environmental division this week. Dublois said the appeal filed by Saronis LLC took longer to drop due to the nature of the appeal.

"In short, both parties agreed to drop all appeals," Dublois said. "We reached an understanding, an amicable agreement."

Dublois said that Arigrios Konstantinou, the owner of Manchester Pizza House, reached out to he and Keelan to solve any problems they had. This olive branch, Dublois said, is what started the process of dropping the appeals.

"He [Konstantinou] welcomes Subway coming into the center," Dublois said. "We look forward to a neighborly relationship and can work out any issues that may occur in a neighborly fashion."

The original appeal was filed in October 2013, when Konstantinou claimed that Subway was misclassified as a restaurant instead of a "fast food" restaurant, which would have required it to have to have many more parking spaces set aside. Originally, Subway was issued a change of use permit administratively by former planning commissioner and zoning administrator Lee Krohn. This action then prompted the appeal of both the legality of Krohn's administrative decision and the classification of Subway as a "restaurant." Keelan and Dublois contended that the Subway fit the definitions of a restaurant under the town's zoning ordinances.

Had Subway been deemed a fast food restaurant, it would have needed upward of 40 parking spaces available for customers, instead of the 9 spaces it needed as a "restaurant." In Manchester, a fast food restaurant is classified as a operation with a drive thru window and/or the use of disposable plates, cups and silverware. Subway was able to earn classification as a restaurant because they changed their business model to serve food purchased to consume in house in baskets with real silverware. The location does not have a drive thru window.

In late December, a decision on the initial appeal was issued and the Development Review Board came down on the side of Keelan and Dublois over the status of the Subway. The board upheld the zoning administrators decision to issue the permit, as well as the classification of restaurant. However, an appeal of that decision was then filed by Saronis LLC at the state level in environmental.

Allison Hopkins, zoning administrator and planning commissioner, said that she has not yet received the paperwork that the appeals have been dropped from the town's attorney, but that the town is always in favor of adjoining landowners coming to an amicable agreement outside of the court system.

Dublois and Keelan are also trying to bring a Starbucks to the plaza. With the appeals being dropped on Subway, Dublois thinks this will help the Starbucks permitting process.

"Starbucks and Subway are not similar [restaurants], but we think Starbucks will be an easier approval process...this paves the way for a cleaner application for Starbucks," he said.

Dublois said he is not yet sure when Subway will be open for business, but it could be as early as late April or early May.

Attempts to reach Arigrios Konstantinou of Saronis LLC for comment were unsuccessful as of presstime.


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