MONROE, CT — A plan for a new standalone Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-thru at 395 Monroe Turnpike received unanimous approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday.
The restaurant will replace the location at the corner of Route 111 and Elm Street once it is built. The older store will remain open until the new one, to be built in front of Village Square Shopping Center, opens its doors.
Attorney Christopher Smith, who represents the applicant, Seventh Realty LLC, said they appreciated working with commissioners on revisions to the site design, adding the proposal complies with the town’s site development application plans for a restaurant use with an accessory drive-thru.
“We hope to open soon,” Smith said during Thursday night’s hearing inside the Council Chambers of Monroe Town Hall.
The new Dunkin’ Donuts will share the same driveway as Village Square Shopping Center.
Commissioners had expressed concern over how the bypass lane for the app customers will merge with regular customers. They also requested additional landscaping along Monroe Turnpike to provide a buffer from the glare of headlights from vehicles in the drive-thru.
Though the design for the 2,107 square foot building received a favorable review from the Architectural Review Board, the commission asked the applicant to enhance the appearance of the side of the building facing Route 111.
“I just want to thank you for taking our comments into consideration,” Nicole Lupo, a commission alternate, said during the hearing. “The new layout looks nice.”
The hearing had opened on Jan. 20, so by Thursday commissioners had no more questions or comments before voting on a draft approval for the special exception permit allowing construction of the single-story building with a drive-thru, parking and a loading area.
The 1.15 acre-property is owned by Gregory L. and Roy E. Steiner. The building lot was created as part of the plaza in 1987. It is in a Commercial B-1 District.
The site does not include wetlands and watercourses. It is within the Far Mill Reservoir public watershed area and will be served by public water and an onsite septic disposal system, which the Monroe Health Department approved on Feb. 17 with conditions.
In its approval, the Planning and Zoning Commission found the plan is consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
A modern D&D
Unlike the existing restaurant at 447 Monroe Turnpike, the new one will have a drive-thru. Michael Cavallo, of Dunkin’ Donuts Development, said the drive-thru will have an extra lane, so customers placing mobile orders can be served more quickly.
David Bjorklund, a civil engineer with J. Edwards & Associates, said the drive-thru will have a wrap around lane, so if drivers change their mind, they can easily get out of line.
The anticipated hours of operation for the restaurant are from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Dunkin’ Donuts will share parking spaces with Village Square under an existing common parking agreement. Bjorklund said 333 spaces are required for the shopping center, which currently has 457 parking spaces.
Cavallo said Seventh Realty is a family business with over 40 years of experience operating Dunkin’ Donuts stores with over 65 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts — including three in Monroe.
“We’ve been in Monroe for over 15 years, operating stores, so we are not new to the area,” Cavallo said. “We’ve been a proud business here for a while.”
He said they are looking forward to bringing a more modern Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-thru to the Route 111 side of town.