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ZBA: No holes in doughnut plan

Bernardston shop could open by Sept.

xA special permit to add a Dunkin’ Donuts to the Church Street Sunoco station in Bernardston, owned by the A.R. Sandri Co., was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Recorder/David Rainville

xA special permit to add a Dunkin’ Donuts to the Church Street Sunoco station in Bernardston, owned by the A.R. Sandri Co., was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Recorder/David Rainville Purchase photo reprints »

BERNARDSTON — By the time Dunkin’ Donuts comes to town, it will be time to pour its pumpkin-flavored coffee, hot chocolate and other fall favorites.

The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a special permit to add the doughnut chain to the Church Street Sunoco station, owned by the AR Sandri Co., Tuesday.

The decision is still subject to a 21-day window for appeals, which will begin when the paperwork is filed Thursday.

It will be another three months before the station’s ready for Dunkin’ Donuts to move in, meaning it could be open for business in September, said Michael Behn, Sandri’s chief operating officer.

A handful of special conditions were stipulated in the special permit.

Sandri must add a four-foot fence in the rear of the parking lot, to block headlights from hitting nearby houses. A planned row of shrubs will be extended to meet the fence, and one shaded light will be added to the lot. Sandri will also keep their building maintained and paint the rusty posts of a highway-style sign behind the building.

The permit also requires that Sandri install a “no right turn” sign at the lot’s Center Street side exit. Sandri will also add a median to the border with Center Street to ensure safe traffic flow, which was included in its submitted plan.

Behn welcomed the changes.

“Our plan is better now than when we walked in,” he said Tuesday.

The plan is still subject to approval by the building inspector and fire chief, and the building’s septic system must be evaluated by the Board of Health. Members of the ZBA said it is likely that the system will need a Title V upgrade, since it will see more use.

The shop will have seats for 14, and also offer take-out. There will be parking for 14 cars outside, and the footprint of the building will remain the same. Behn said Sandri expects it to serve 2,500 to 3,000 customers per week.

The project had been pitched by station owner AR Sandri Co. last year, but was withdrawn when it was found that a zoning bylaw forbade take-out service at restaurants, despite many eateries that already offered food to-go. The bylaw was changed by a special town meeting vote and Sandri reapplied this spring.

During the ZBA’s public hearings, residents expressed concerns about increased traffic and littering customers, and worried that it may take away business from nearby places like the Country Corner Store and the 7 South Bakery.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 on Twitter follow: @RecorderRain

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