New Dunkin’ Donuts coming to Bridgeport Avenue

A revised plan to construct a Dunkin’ Donuts on a vacant 0.6-acre parcel at 364 Bridgeport Ave., which the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) rejected at its Oct. 18 meeting, was approved by the board at its Dec. 20 meeting.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts will replace the existing 1,880 square foot building across the street at 367 Bridgeport Ave. The owner decided to build a new one because he wanted a drive-thru window, which the current donut shop does not have. Construction is planned for the spring.

Attorney Joseph Porto told the board that following a meeting with zoning staff, the building was redesigned and made smaller. The original submission was for 2,250 square feet, and the approved plan was 1,978 square feet.

Since the building is being treated as a fast food take-out restaurant, the project requires one parking space for every 250 square feet of building space, resulting in eight required parking spaces for the 1,978 square foot building.

Porto said there is a slight decrease in parking, compared to the original proposal, from 26 to 20 parking spaces, along with a larger landscaping buffer, resulting in improved traffic flow on the site.

Porto said when the board revised its regulations in May, it made a distinction between a drive-thru and a drive-in. He said drive thrus are permitted in the Corridor Design Development District 2 (CDD-2) zone.

Another change from the October application is that this proposal did not include a request to change the zone from CDD-2 to Corridor Design Development District 3 (CDD-3) for the properties from 364 to 388 Bridgeport Ave., extending the zone to the I-95 Exit 34 ramps. The board denied that zone change request in October.

Landscape Architect Jeffrey Gordon said the revised plans include a separate 12 foot wide lane to access the rear parking area, which may also be used as a by-pass lane for someone seeking to leave the drive-thru lane.

Gordon said the drive thru would accommodate 10 vehicles in the queue and two leaving the drive thru, commenting, “More often than not, people will not be the eleventh vehicle. They will go elsewhere or park.”

Landscaping will include a 10-foot wide buffer strip along the rear of the property, which borders a residential area, and a four-foot wide buffer strip along the side, which borders a used car lot. Low bushes will be planted along the street to maintain sight lines for traffic.

Gordon said the border by 11 Cowles St. has a pentway, which is an old-fashioned easement designed to allow horse and buggy access from the property at 364 Bridgeport Ave.

“We cannot plant in the pentway, but we can put in a screened fence,” said Gordon. He said there would be a gate at the end of the pentway for access to the residential property.

Gordon had asked if the board could approve an outdoor seating area, but City Planner David B. Sulkis told the board an outdoor seating area would have to be a separate application.

Board member Thomas Nichol asked about the Health Department’s comment regarding pollution from idling cars.

Gordon said that studies regarding idling vehicles have been done on diesel trucks, including double-parked trucks in urban environments, and trucks at truck stops. He said studies have not been done on idling gasoline-powered cars in drive thrus.

Porto said he sent a letter in September to the Health Department regarding this issue, and never received a response.

In making the motion to approve the site plan, board member Jim Quish said the approval would be contingent on the project complying with any requests from the city’s engineering department, the traffic commission and the building department.

“This property has been vacant and kind of blighted, an eyesore for me that feels like decades,” said Quish. “I welcome the development. I think it’s a great thing for the neighborhood.”

At the October meeting, Porto told the board that business owner Frank D’Andrea owns more than a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts in the Milford-West Haven area.

Bridgeport Empire LLC bought the property for $363,000 on Dec. 13, 2011. The LLC lists Kerrim and Khairunnisa Jivani of Milford as members. D’Andrea plans to purchase the property since the P&Z approved the proposal.