A proposed Dunkin' Donuts store at the North Fifth Street and Blooming Glen Road, cleared its first hurdle Monday night when Perkasie Borough Council unanimously granted conditional approval for the franchise to feature a drive-through window.
However, before franchisee Manish Patel can move forward with his fourth Dunkin' Donuts store, a number of variances must be granted by the Perkasie Zoning Hearing Board.
Borough zoners meet Monday, March 24, and are expected to examine requested variances ranging from the size and number of parking spaces, buffers and setbacks to changing the property from a C1 Commercial to a Planned Commercial Development.
Patel already owns Dunkin' Donuts franchises in Souderton, Harleysville and Worcester.
He told council that as a Dunkin' Donuts owner in this day and age, a drive-through window is a necessity for operating a successful business.
Council only ruled on the drive-through window Monday night and will weigh in on land development and other matters at a later date.
The planned 3,090 square foot coffee shop on 0.6 acres of land sits across from a CVS Pharmacy and on property that once housed a doctor's office.
Eric S. Clase, an engineer with New Britain-based Gilmore & Associates, told council that the drive-through window will be located at the northeast corner of the property with two lanes for customer traffic and a bypass lane.
Clase added that the angular parking will be converted to perpendicular parking and 13 spaces will be converted to larger width to accommodate borough ordinances.
Clase said pulling the site back off the road and buffering will need to be examined by the Zoning Hearing Board.
"We have no more room for buffering," Clase said.
The buffering issue drew the ire of resident Kenneth Texter of 409 Blooming Glen Road, who lives next to the proposed Dunkin' Donuts shop.
"The zoning laws state 40 feet of buffering is needed. There's six feet there now. I lived next to a doctor's office for 44 years and this is different? It's going to de-value my property. Your gain is our loss," he said.
Some residents said the geographical location of the proposed site was foolish.
Others questioned an Oct. 2013 traffic study presented to borough council, because it didn't take into account traffic coming to and from the Upper Bucks campus of Bucks County College and a nearby orthodontics office.
Pennridge High School, at 1228 N. 5th Street, is also near the proposed Dunkin' Donuts shop.
Attorney Michael Kracht, representing Patel, said there is always a certain amount of reticence when a Dunkin' Donuts or a McDonald's franchise is proposed in a small town.
"We know that big discussions about this are still to come. (The store) is a tight fit. We keep wishing for a Perkasie of times gone by, but we also want jobs and economic development," he said. "This is the kind of application that deserves reasonable accommodation."
Kracht said the Dunkin' Donuts location will not be open 24 hours per day, although the business hours have yet to be determined.
Patel said that between purchasing the building and the franchise, his cost will weigh in between $1.8 million and $2.2 million.