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September 16, 2014 - 10:34pm

City planners vote down proposed Dunkin Donuts for West Main location

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Business, Dunkin' Donuts.

There won't be Dunkin' Donut coffee addicts zipping into a new shop on West Main Street, Batavia, any time soon, it seems.

The City's planning board rejected a site plan for the propose fast food restaurant outright following a public hearing Tuesday.

Paul Viele, the board member who made the motion to reject the proposal, cited concerns over traffic and complaints from residents on Redfield Parkway and River Street.

The proposed location was a lot squeezed in between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

Jett Mehta, president of the Pittsford-based development company looking to build a second Dunkin' Donuts in Batavia, said his company had looked at several properties on both the west side and the east side of the city before settling on a location they felt had sufficient traffic to support the franchise.

Donut stores and drive-thru coffee shops  need high-traffic locations, Mehta explained.

"We don't generate traffic just because somebody decides they want to drive across town to get a cup of coffee," Mehta said. "They might, but we generally don't generate traffic. We capture traffic."

Kip Finley, an engineer on the project, said getting coffee and donuts is more a matter of "impulse purchases from people who are already right there."

Board members and public speakers expressed some skepticism about the "captured traffic" motif. 

"Tim Hortons is not captured traffic," John Roach said. "People go there to get a cup of coffee, so I can see a lot more than five or six cars getting in line."

Mehta and his team brought their proposal to the city a couple of weeks ago and planners asked that the alignment of the store be changed so as many 20 cars in queue.

The developers did, even though they are vehement that there will never be 20 cars in queue.  

"Our company operates 19 Dunkin Donuts with drive thrus," Mehta said. "We've never seen 20 cars in queue. Twenty cars in a drive-thru queue just never happens. It's not how the business is run."

When board members expressed concerns about the reconfigured site dumping traffic on River Street, Finley said that was a result of trying to accommodate the request to have space for 20 cars backed up in line.

"We're pretty flexible on those things," Finley said. "We now have two plans and both work pretty well."

Neighboring business owner Mike Barrett called the project "ill conceived."

He said there was a 400 gallon propane tank at the back of the property, an auto parts store in the neighboring shopping mall that certainly stores a lot of chemicals. He wondered if the Fire Department had signed off on the project with access to those buildings being restricted.

He also said the DEC required access to the Tonawanda Creek from that location for grass cutting operations.

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said City Fire had been consulted and Chief Jim Maxwell had signed off on the plans.

Redfield Parkway resident Jim Owen said he loves Dunkin' Donuts and doesn't made a section location in Batavia, just not that location.

"We're really getting overwhelmed with the traffic," Owen said. "If you try to get out on certain dates and certain hours, it's just brutal."

After the meeting, Mehta said he and his team will need to convene and decide with to continue pursuing a second Dunkin Donuts location in Batavia. 

Mike Mikolajczyk, owner of the current franchise and prospective owner of the second franchise, said during the meeting that the number one request he gets from current customers is a drive-thru location.

Asked about possible locations on the east side of the city, Mikolajczyk said it doesn't appear yet that East Main has the traffic volume to support a Dunkin' Donuts.

Photo: Steve Pum and Kip Finley.

Michael Pullinzi
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They disapprove a Dunkin Donuts, but they approve that mess between the Post Office and the Mall? (Post Office parking/Tim Hortons/Wendy's/Credit Union) Come to the Town of Batavia. Our arms are open. :)

Kyle Couchman
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That comment was a little dumb Michael. Seems to me that the "mess" by the post office wasn't on the agenda or even discussed. Good thing too as it was built a while back. very think perhaps BECAUSE of the results of building that, they took lessons learn and disapproved it?

dennis wight
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Mike Mikolajczyk should have purchased the old Ponderosa if he wanted to add a drive thru

John Roach
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Mike, the mess with the "S" curve and Tim Horton's parking was the result of New York State DOT closing off the Jefferson Ave intersection there when they rebuilt Main Street. The design for the "S" curve was about the best they could do after the State did that.

And while I hate the "S" curve, this planning board has no members from the one you mention.

Also note, not one, not even one, resident of the City spoke in favor of this that was not connected with either DD or Five Star Bank.

Marie Smith
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People will always complain about traffic. I live right in that area, and honestly it isn't any different from any other main intersection in Batavia. Dunkin Donuts should open up shop in the Town of Batavia, I think the Town along with its board has open mind and is very receptive to growth Look about a mile or two down the road and you will be in business in no time.

John Roach
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I would think that the Veterans Memorial Drive area would be good for some coffee shop chain to open up.

Bob Price
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If Mike wanted a drive thru, he should've bought the old motel they tore down years ago to build a drive thru bank on West Main(next to Denny's,where Hot Shot's was). I wonder why there is no restaurant yet in the Town Center plaza-maybe a Panera or something along those lines. Five Guys would be awesome addition,or just think of the traffic we'd get if a Sonic came to Batavia.Just waiting for Wendy's or Burger King to submit a plan to build another location in Batavia(why not-we have 3 Subways(don't forget the one in Wal Mart), 4 places to get Tim Horton's(don't forget they have it at Tops and the Downs),and now 2 Mcdonalds.......

Michael Pullinzi
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Same board? On the agenda? As usual, you two make no sense to anyone other than yourselves The point is, the City is anti-business and the Town is pro-business. Bad decisions, now or in the past, are bad decisions. Just like the trash fiasco, The City just keeps rolling them out.

John Roach
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Mike, you compared two board decisions years apart, made by different people, and failed to acknowledge the State of New York was responsible for the S curve ever having to be built. And that S curve was not related to any business decision, but to give Jefferson Ave an outlet to Main Street. The S curve and the DD decision are not comparable except to you.

I am no fan of decisions made by the City, like the water deal with Monroe County, the debt we went into for an oversized City Hall building, unneeded Assitant Manager, and others, but I think they are pro business. And they were made by City Council, not the Planning Board (you knew that)

And while you still object to the garbage outcome, two new businesses are up and running, and paying taxes.

And again, I note, not one person came and spoke for this project at this location who was not connected to it. And what proof do you have that 5 members of the board are anti business?

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