The site meets city requirements for parking, said Gasda, but he could add 15 more spaces. "Knowing how busy Dunkin Donuts gets in the mornings, I would add some more parking," said Hefele.

Action on the doughnut shop's plans was tabled until a future meeting.

Kishor Dalsania, who will own the Dunkin Donuts, said he hopes to start construction in June and be open by the end of September.

PlayPlace stays at McDonalds

When the planning commission approved plans for the new McDonalds at
1432 S. 4th St. last year, they were told the PlayPlace, an indoor playground for small children that is attached to the current restaurant, would be eliminated.

But now the developers want to add a new PlayPlace to the new restaurant, in response to customer demands.

Anthony Caponigro, the project's engineer, explained as McDonalds moved closer to the start of construction, its rebuild plans were presented to some of the restaurant's regular customers.

McDonalds personnel heard "a lot of public outcry about losing the PlayPlace." So the chain's management decided to change the building and keep a PlayPlace.

Caponigro said the new fast-food restaurant will cover 5,100 square feet. Without the PlayPlace, he said it would have covered 4,500 square feet --"one third dining, one third kitchen, one third storage."

Caponigro said the change will not reduce 41 parking spaces planned for the restaurant, but will change the configuration of the drive-thru, eliminating a bypass lane. "After you place your order, you're basically locked into the drive-thru," he said, but added that can be avoided before that point, with access to the adjoining Kmart lot.

Hefele asked the planning commission if it wanted to review the McDonalds project again for revised final approval or just allow the city's planning staff to review it. The commission agreed to have the staff review it.

The new McDonalds will be closer to 4th Street on the same property and will face that street, making it more prominent to potential customers driving by.

Trout Creek Cottages

The planning commission got its second look at plans for a development of 52 small homes in the Trout Creek Cottages development.

Plans for what is called a pocket neighborhood previously were reviewed by the planners last June and Allentown City Council approved a zoning change to allow the project to move forward last August.

Richard Kontir of Cottage Communities LP, the developer, told planners there have been only a few minor tweaks since the proposal first was brought before them.

One is that the development originally was called Cumberland Commons, but the name has been changed to Trout Creek Cottages. That was done so it will not be confused with the Cumberland Gardens housing project, which is off E. Susquehanna Street in another part of the city's south side.

Another change is the number of homes has increased since 49 were first proposed. A few more are planned along Rye Street, an alley the runs up the hill between S. 5th and S. Fair streets.

The homes will be a mix of singles, townhouses and carriage houses, which are living units atop garages. One unusual feature is every home will front on, or have access to, grassy open space common areas.

"Personally, I think it's a refreshing approach," said Foucek. "A very good notion."

Every home will have a garage or carport, although they won't all be attached to the houses.

One drawback is most of the homes won't have basements and, because they are small, storage space will be limited.

Kontir said the homes will range in size from 700 to 1,700 square feet. He previously told city officials they are designed for "first-time home buyers and empty nesters."

Last year Kontir told City Council the cottages will sell from the
low-$100,000-to-low-$200,000 price range, but on Tuesday he told the planning commission "we're still working on that."

The homes will have no more than three bedrooms, but those third bedrooms will be small and marketed as home office space.