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NO DUNKIN'

Proposed Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in Niskayuna rejected

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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NO DUNKIN'


The Mobil Mart at the intersection of Balltown Road and Nott Street Extension in Niskayuna is pictured Wednesday. A Dunkin' Donut drive-through was proposed for the site.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
The Mobil Mart at the intersection of Balltown Road and Nott Street Extension in Niskayuna is pictured Wednesday. A Dunkin' Donut drive-through was proposed for the site.

— A proposed Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in Niskayuna was rejected by the town Zoning Board of Appeals late Wednesday night.

The vote means an end to a proposal to put a Dunkin’ Donuts with a convenience store at the site of the Mobil station, 1502 Balltown Road, as a drive-through was a requirement for the doughnut shop, representatives said.

The board rejected the request over concerns about how the drive-through would affect traffic on Balltown Road and whether it would affect pedestrians. The intersection of Balltown and Nott is one of the busiest in town.

Board members expressed concern that the plan would make an already troublesome intersection worse. They also questioned whether an approval would have led to other fast food drive-throughs in the area.

Owner Jonathan Kaplan of Red-Kap Sales asked for a variance to allow the drive-through.

Kaplan argued that the site can’t be profitable with just a gas station, or even a Subway restaurant.

A Subway, which doesn’t need a drive-through, would generate only half the revenue a Dunkin’ Donuts would, he said.

The vote was 6-1 against. Board Chairman William McPartlon cast the lone vote in favor of the request, saying he believed the applicant met the requirements for a variance. He also expressed concern for the future of the property and noted there already are other drive-throughs nearby.

Representatives of the site owner pointed to nearby bank drive-throughs as well. They also noted a traffic study conducted in January that showed the impact would be small and noted the town’s expert reviewed the numbers and didn’t dispute them.

Board members, however, questioned the validity of the numbers. They feared cars turning into the property would block traffic on Balltown.

Board member Keith Frary questioned the representatives hard about the traffic and character of the area.

“This is our Main Street,” he said, adding that once granted, permission for a drive-through on the site can’t be taken back.

Kaplan responded that the area already has drive-throughs, at the nearby banks.

Public comment Wednesday night weighed against the proposal.

Jay Nish of Niskayuna spoke out against the plan, telling the board that the proposal has embedded flaws.

“It’s almost preposterous what’s being proposed,” he said. “That’s putting it mildly.”

The proposal was submitted last September. It would have required remodeling the inside of the current store and elimination of automobile service bays that are no longer used.

 
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