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Second Dunkin Donuts restaurant hits snag with Fayetteville Planning & Zoning Committee

By Alexander Cain – 

The individuals behind the desire to construct a second Dunkin Donuts business in Fayetteville will have more “time to make the donuts” after being turned down by the Fayetteville Planning & Zoning Commission on Oct. 27.

Teresa Curry, representing Axis Infrastructure, the company behind the proposed plans for a Take 5 Oil Change/Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins on Highway 85, had previously appeared before the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission Sept. 28 meeting.

Developers were required to appear before the commission on separate agenda items for a drive-through area for the Dunkin Donuts and provide conceptual site plans and building elevations. The drive-through required the approval of a special exception from the commission.

The location for the businesses would have an address of 975 N. Glynn Street and would be located next to an existing Hardee’s restaurant.

Take 5 Oil Change would be located on the northern portion of the property. According to documents filed with the City of Fayetteville Axis Infrastructure, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins with a drive-through would be found on the southern part. The proposed square footage for the entire building is 3,684 square feet.

At the September meeting, commission members voted to table the request for a special exception until the applicant could provide a traffic study that would give the commission an idea of the number of cars that could potentially visit the businesses throughout the day. The current Dunkin Donuts in Fayetteville, located near the Highway 85 & Highway 54 intersection, has created traffic issues for motorists in the area.

“What kinds of guarantees are there, if anybody drives up Highway 85 in the morning, that the Dunkin Donuts line won’t wrap around into Highway 85?” commission member David Hilderbrant asked at the Sept. 28 meeting.

Although Curry stated in September that Axis and property owners were willing to alter site plans for the new Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, accommodating customer and driver concerns, the commission still insisted on a traffic study.

When Curry appeared before the commission in October, she informed the commission that there had not been a traffic study done, but rather traffic numbers taken from Georgia Department of Transportation data.

“What we asked for was a traffic study. What we got was existing data,” commission member Brett Nolan stated.

Nolan appeared to lead the charge in questioning the idea of a potential “stacking” at the proposed business, where vehicles end up lining up one behind the other waiting for orders.

“This does not give us relevant information about traffic within two blocks of this development. That’s what the citizens are concerned about,” Nolan stated. “It’s the stop that is concerning for me personally. Looking at this set-up, I do not have a lot of confidence that it will solve the traffic issues that we see on the south side of town.”

According to Banks, there would be two access points off of Banks Road and an access point off of Highway 85, should the proposed development for the businesses occur.

Commission member Debi Renfroe expressed her concerns about the Dunkin Donuts plans.

“I just feel that it is too tight. These people are literally stuck. That’s my major concern, is the stacking,” Renfroe stated. “I’m concerned about people being jammed in there and not being able to get out from any point.”

Axis Infrastructure’s argument regarding stacking and traffic issues for the property has been that an oil change facility and an ice cream/donut restaurant area would have different peak times for customer traffic.

Despite Curry’s assurances that developers and property owners would work to address concerns from the commission, the commission still voted 4-1, with member David Hilderbrandt voting against, on a motion to deny the special exception for a drive-through.

However, Axis Infrastructure and property owners still have options through appeals with the City of Fayetteville and working with the Fayetteville Mayor and Fayetteville City Council.

Staff with the City of Fayetteville can still work with the development to ensure a traffic study is completed and plans are altered as needed or requested.

It was unknown as of press time what plans, if any, Axis Infrastructure would have or what actions developers would take regarding the property’s future. The Commission approved a conceptual site plan for a Take 5 Oil Change on Jan. 26, 2021, and later approved a revised conceptual site plan for a freestanding Take 5 Oil Change facility for the location on Jun. 6, 2021.

 

By Michael Cuneo

Michael Cuneo is a news and sports reporter for the Fayette County News. Michael graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism in 2020. In his off time, Michael enjoys torturing himself as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Follow Michael on twitter @michaelcune