Burlington’s planning and zoning commission has endorsed a rezoning request that would enable Dunkin’ Donuts to set up a new drive-thru location at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Hanford Road.
During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the planning commission’s members unanimously voted to recommend a barebones version of this proposed change – minus any reference to the project’s particulars or the national eatery on whose behalf it was filed.
If approved by Burlington’s city council, this rezoning request would reclassify three lots at the southeast corner of Maple Avenue and Hanford Road from medium density residential to general business use. Unlike a conditional rezoning proposal, which may include all manner of project details among its development conditions, the paperwork on this “conventional” rezoning is entirely mum on the proposed commercial development. The city’s planning commission nevertheless heard some tantalizing particulars of the applicant’s plans from Curtis Little, who identified himself as a developer for the would-be occupant of this 1.5 acre site. “We’re working with a restaurant group that is a national restaurant chain,” he added, “that has a location already in Burlington [and] that is a coffee user.”
Little went on to inform the planning commission that his client intends to set up a “drive-thru only” restaurant with a 900-square-foot footprint on this 1.5-acre site.
“We initially looked at just the two corner lots [which Rodney Leon Hewitt owns along Hanford Road],” Little added. “But we realized as we progressed in our plans that we need to acquire Mr. [James] Gauldin’s property [at 2620 Maple Avenue] as well to get our [proposal for road] access through DOT.”
Although Little didn’t actually identify his client by name, he offered to present a site plan to the planning commission – a move that the city’s planning staff overruled since it wasn’t germane to the straight residential-to-general-business rezoning that the planning commission was considering. The Alamance News subsequently contacted the city’s planning department to obtain a copy of this same site plan, which was conspicuously labeled “Dunkin Donuts” without any attempt to obfuscate the eatery’s name.
Little’s rezoning request had come to Burlington’s planning commission with the blessing of the city’s planning staff, which deemed the proposed zoning to be compatible with neighboring land uses. The members of the planning commission ultimately concurred with the staff’s assessment and voted 5-to-0 to recommend the request to Burlington’s city council.