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Tolland Dunkin' Donuts Makes Case for Adding Drive-Through

The Planning & Zoning Commission discussed a traffic assessment of Dunkin' Donuts and Route 195, completed by Bubaris Traffic Associates.

The Planning & Zoning Commission got a glimpse of how a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through could affect traffic on Route 195, courtesy of a traffic study completed for the business by Bubaris Traffic Associates.

According to the study's conclusion, a drive-through operation could increase traffic in the area by 20 to 30 percent. The total amount of estimated car trips with the addition of a drive-through breaks down to :

  • 240 trips during weekday a.m. peaks (7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.)
  • 70 trips during weekday p.m. peaks (4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.)
  • 214 trips during Saturday mid-morning (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

The study states that the area's Levels of Service, based on unsignalized traffic intersection criteria, would be unchanged, with the exception of the Dunkin' Donuts' weekday peak outbound traffic, which would downgrade from a Level C "average delay" to a Level D "long delay."

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The estimates were created using data from other donut and coffee businesses, as well as fast food restaurants, taken from the Trip Generation Manual, used by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

The study also found from the most recent CT DOT data, there were no recorded crashes at the Dunkin' Donuts driveway, although there were accidents at other adjacent driveways along Route 195.

PZC member Bill Eccles expressed concern that the study did not seem to account for potentially increased traffic from I-84, with drivers taking Tolland's exit for the convenience of the drive-through.

"Reflecting on Route 195 as a stretch of road in itself is invalid, in my view," Eccles commented.

The commissioners also noted that the study did not factor for a proposed connector road to Cider Mill Road with a traffic signal. The connector road is part of Tolland Village Area concept plans.

Dory Famiglietti, representing Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner Mario  Nevas, said that that her clients were asking the PZC to consider amending Tolland Village Area regulations, allowing restaurants to apply for a special permit for drive-throughs.

According to Town Planner Linda Farmer, Tolland placed a prohibition on all drive-throughs, except for banks, back in 1987, when McDonald's applied to build a restaurant and drive-through near Rockville Bank's current location.

Chairperson Marilee Beebe said that the commission would review prior meeting minutes dealing with the drive-through issue and would invite Dunkin' Donuts back for further discussions.

The traffic study can be seen in the PZC meeting agenda.

McW January 15, 2013 at 01:33 PM
So essentially DD is requesting that we amend our rules and create a more problematic traffic situation so they can improve their bottom line. Lets not downgrade our Level of Service in that area from a C to a D for ANY reason. DD knew what the zoning laws were when they took that space. If they want a drive thru, let them apply for an exception in another spot where service levels won't be adversely affected.
Tolland Parent January 15, 2013 at 02:08 PM
What's the big deal? It's a drive thru. It will get people in and out of there easier. Right now the parking lot is jammed with the cars of people waiting INSIDE when they could just quickly drive thru and leave. I think the drive thru would help the situation.
Long time resident January 15, 2013 at 03:25 PM
One of the objections I have with drive thrus is when a convoluted/illogical traffic pattern is created to create one. This frequently happens in retrofits. I don't think that is the case here. I think it is manageable. And yes, there is nothing wrong with a town accomodating a tax paying business to make reasonable allowances that add to the conveinience of the patrons of the business as well as increases the business' "bottom line". The hypocrisy of allowing banks to have drive thrus and no one else has been noted continuously. I remember Sue Errickson, as a PZC member, telling an audience they didn't need drive thrus because we could all use more exercise. I guess that didn't apply to going to the bank. This is the kind of illogical mindset that has been contolling planning decisions in this town for too long.
Jennifer Snider Grover January 15, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Please let them have a drive thru. It would be more convenient, quicker when one is trying to get other things done and I would love if more people stopped at our exit for a quick coffee/gas/break. The town needs the income as well.
PJ January 15, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Allow the drive through. If Tolland is to be a business friendly town then we need to allow current businesses to thrive. The lack of a drive through affects the business's bottom line. Go there on a Sat. or Sun. morning and watch people drive through and drive away because of the lack of a drive through. The traffic is already there now. To not allow drive through's so we don't become like a neighboring town is a dead argument considering we have a strip joint across from DD.
Tony Rogers January 15, 2013 at 07:24 PM
The drive through should have been in place all along. As a Tolland resident, I hate standing in a crowded line to buy my Sunday coffee. Let's get Tolland into the 21st century by calling town hall and demanding the town approve the proposal. The traffic is a non-issue as the drive through will only speed patron's purchases, but not add more patrons to the flow already in place.
Long time resident January 15, 2013 at 08:02 PM
I think it is a fine idea to voice support to the town administration. We have some dinosaurs on the PZC and they need to know where residents stand. They are following an old play book and need a wake up call.
R Tavolacci January 15, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Seriously, still the drama on a drive-thru at DD? This 20th century concept should not be an issue. As town officials, they should work with DD to find a way to make it happen; and do so as a win-win to everyone. That includes not incurring expenses to the town. Yes, we want DD and all businesses to add to their bottom line because when they make more money, so should Tolland---a concept this town does not always embrace. The approved drive-thru's for banks displays some sort of unfair "exception" that must be eliminated. Lastly, Tolland like other towns is in search of more revenue, enhancing our business base is a win-win for all---more bottom line, more sales tax, more jobs---wow what a concept. Support this drive-thru and motor Tolland into the 21st century. Then we can have the cake (donut) and eat it too!
mark bradnan January 15, 2013 at 11:54 PM
I brew my coffee and make breakfast at home
MaryAnn January 16, 2013 at 01:42 AM
The recent change in the regulations was arbitrary when it allowed a pharmacy, which is currently non-existent, to have a drive-through, but not entertain the petitioned request by DD to have such a drive through. The unfair treatment of this existing business needs to be remedied. It begs the question of favoritism and cronism toward one business owner/franchisee. Another excuse expressed by P&ZC commissioners against permitting drive-thrus over the years has been the potential for increased air pollution and liter. We are a much more environmentally conscious society then we were in the late 1980s when the no drive through ordinance was originally instated. And ordinances that apply fines can be imposed if pollution and liter become issues if DD is allowed a drive-thru. The P&ZC says they want businesses to move into the Village Area. If that is true they need to be business friendly. The special permit process available to the P&ZC will still offer some discretion to the commissioners as to what comes into that area, but will encourage applicants to come forward and propose development in this, one of the very few business-zoned areas in Tolland.
Susie Lotreck January 16, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Amen -- a drive through D & D. It is about time!!!! I still cannot wrap my mind around why the town would have denied a a drive thru at Dunkin Donuts in the first place. Yet we have Electric Blue across the street. This town does have it quirks indeed.
mark bradnan January 17, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Blah,Blah,Blah! This town is not Avon or West Hartford but sure sounds like its populated by wanabe's
Jim G. January 17, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Electric Blue has a drive-thru? For... um... what? :)
peter anderson January 19, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Dear Mark, what do you do to be sooo ? As a small business owner, I see that you obviously don't know how hard it is to do business in Tolland. Linda Farmer controls the ins and outs and if you don't conform you are in the outs group. The town needs to hear what small business has to say and not pass over their concerns. Sorry Mark this IS a problem that needs to be brought into the 21st century. We like convenience but refuse to help our citizens get it in our town. We would rather send them to Vernon's Lafyette Square to buy their COFFEE! That's just WRONG!
R Tavolacci January 19, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Peter, You hit another nerve point, yes some of us go to Vernon's lafayette square where a drive thru was just INSTALLED, and no additional drama was added to make it happen. Yet I hear names like Linda Farmer still having a handcuff on this town----ridiculous! Given the choke hold she and others have put on businesses, we should embrace businesses that want to expand like DD. And we should do so as a win-win proposition. Get rid of those folks that want NO PROGRESS for Tolland. Tolland needs to get on with the real world or close its borders because the world is progessing at a an even faster pace than before, yes that terrible Tolland word--progress.. Tolland's citizens simply want conveniences that were conceived in the last century and the remark that some of them want to "be like Avon or W Hartford" is simply stuffy old New England nonsense. What else do we have to build the tax base on besides residents? Its time to get on with free enterprise and stop this draconian mindset of "no change/no growth". Get that drive-thru approved and going ASAP!
mark bradnan January 22, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Dear Peter, I do own a small business ( electrical contracting) and have lived in town 26 years and I know it can be frustrating at times dealing with town officials. Whether or not a drive-through is built at a "small business" like Dunkin' Donuts probably won't affect its bottom line or create more revenue for the town. And drive to Vernon for a cup of coffee? Please, that's dumb. On another note I've always wondered why McDonalds was never allowed to build across from Andersons auto back in the early 90's? Does anyone know?
Jim G. January 22, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Maybe because nothing says quality like a McD's sign on the way into town.

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