Another Dunkin’ coming to Putnam Pike

Another Dunkin’ coming to Putnam Pike

SMITHFIELD – A new Dunkin’ is in the works for Putnam Pike after the Town Council on Tuesday approved a zone change allowing the use of a pre-existing drive-through in the Village District of Greenville.

Village District zoning under the comprehensive plan prohibits a drive-through, but Greenville Donuts attorney Timothy Kane said the former Citizens Bank, at 639 Putnam Pike, has a drive-through that is not being used and is a perfect location for a coffee shop.

Citizens Bank moved across the street for a stand-alone building, a trend most banks are moving toward, according to Kane. Finding another bank to occupy the location will be nearly impossible, he emphasized.

This would be the third Dunkin’ on Putnam Pike in Smithfield, with two others at 385 and 259 Putnam Pike.

Some residents on Tuesday expressed concern that making the zoning change would constitute illegal spot zoning, and would set a precedent for other businesses to come into the Village District with plans for a drive-through.

According to professional engineer Edward Pimentel, the amendment was drafted to prevent opening a “Pandora’s Box” in the district, putting such restrictions in place that the former Citizens Bank will be the only building in the village fitting the description.

“You will never see a Pandora’s Box opening up into this village. This plan is well supported by the goals and objective of the comprehensive plan,” Pimentel said.

Amendments to the zoning change state, “a restaurant with drive-through in a Village District shall only be permitted in a pre-existing multi-tenant commercial plaza with a pre-existing drive-through.”

Kane added that the location, a multi-tenant plaza home to Rocky’s Ace Hardware and Damon’s Wine and Spirits, has an abundance of parking with plenty of room for cars to get in and out.

Presenting a traffic study, David D’Amico of D’Amico Engineering said the Dunkin’ will serve 180 vehicles in the peak morning hours between 7 and 8 a.m., and 89 vehicles in the afternoon.

He said the coffee shop will not have a significant impact on the traffic in the area, partially thanks to the light at the intersection of Austin Avenue and Putnam Pike, and also due to the center turning lane in front of the proposed location on Putnam Pike.

Kane said that area of Greenville represents a “critical mass” for companies and employers doing business, and there is a need for a local coffee shop within walking distance.

“There are several hundred people who work in the area businesses district that want a coffee shop right there that is convenient to the business sector that is thriving right there,” he said.

Councilor Dina Cerra voted against the ordinance change, but the motion carried 4-1 during the first meeting of the newly elected council.

One of Cerra’s concerns was that the building could take away from the village feel that the town is trying to protect.

“It certainly does need a facelift for sure,” she conceded.

The town does not have design criteria for buildings in the Village District to restrict construction to having a historical appearance. Town Planner Michael Phillips said from a historical perspective, the area of Greenville where the Dunkin’ will be located is known to be a turnpike village, and does not have the “feel” of other villages.