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Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem Township has questions about new Dunkin Donuts

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - America may run on Dunkin, but Bethlehem Township commissioners aren't sure they're ready for the chain to add another location to their corner of the world.

The commissioners on Tuesday evening heard from engineer Mike Jeitner, representing a proposed 1,900 square foot Dunkin Donuts along Freemansburg Avenue between 10th and 11th streets.

But while Jeitner, of Bohler Engineering in Center Valley, was looking for feedback, what he mostly heard were concerns from the commissioners, who asked for more details, and suggested the plan go before the township zoners.

"My concern right now is safety," said Commissioner Michael Hudak, who worried about the number of cars pulling in and out of the property, already home to the Friendly Foods store. 

He said traffic backs up on that stretch of road, causing drivers to sometimes pass each on the shoulder, cutting into what would be the Dunkin Donuts lot.

"Essentially, they're driving through that lot at 40, 45 mph," Hudak said.

Commissioners also had reservations about the zoning change the restaurant would require.

The property is in a neighborhood-commercial zoning district, which does not allow for fast food joints.

Jeitner said he doesn't think Dunkin Donuts qualifies as fast food, but also noted that fast food places are permitted in similar zoning districts.

"We're not asking for something that's out of character," he said after the meeting.

He and the principals behind the Dunkin Donuts told reporters they're not sure what their next step would be.

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