A once-controversial plan to put a drive-thru next to a residential neighborhood is back, but with many changes.
Developer David Fusco rethought his plan after hearing complaints from neighbors in the East Front Street neighborhood.
He had wanted to open a gas station at 1419 Erie Blvd. with a Dunkin’ Donuts instead of a convenience store.
The only trouble: Dunkin’ Donuts stores come with a drive-thru, and squeezing one in under the original plan would require a road that came within 3 feet of a neighbor’s yard.
Now it is at least 15 feet away and fencing and vegetation are also in the plans to shield neighbors.
“The drive-thru has been substantially relocated,” said Fusco’s attorney, Mary Beth Slevin. “One of the concerns the neighbors had was the speakers. … That particular speaker system has also been relocated.”
Before, the proposed speaker was aimed at a nearby house, because the speaker was placed at the normal location for drive-thrus. Now the plans place it as far from the houses as possible, on the side of the Dunkin’ Donuts.
“We’re actually using the building itself as a shield,” Slevin said.
Hours for the drive-thru would also be limited. Slevin said the hours haven’t been decided yet, but would be “reasonable” and not extend late into the night.
The store itself would remain open 24 hours a day.
The plan also calls for four townhouses on the rear of the property, along Front Street.
That portion of the property is residentially zoned. The front is commercially zoned.
The plan still needs approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals because of the drive-thru, which is not allowed at all, and the fact that the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts is not two stories tall, as required in the zoning.
But Slevin said she thinks the controversial portions of the plan have been amended in such a way that neighbors will be satisfied.
“We made substantial changes in the plan and the changes were all designed to address the comments we received,” she said.
She expects to file plans with the city in time for the next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, on June 4 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.