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Dunkin Donuts Needs to Rethink Drive-Thru, Planning Board Says

The Birmingham Planning Board postponed the preliminary site plan review for Dunkin Donuts, which wants to move into the former Bordines spot on Woodward.

Is Birmingham ready for a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins with a drive-thru?

Based on plans presented to the city last week, the Birmingham Planning Board says: not yet.

The planning board postponed the preliminary site plan review and Special Land Use Permit application for Dunkin Donuts, which is looking to move into 33779 and 33757 Woodward Ave., between Humphrey Avenue and Bennaville Avenue.

The new doughnut shop and Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor would be moving into the former location of Bordine's on Woodward, . The current site is comprised of a greenhouse structure, a parking lot in the rear and a brick building on the corner of Humphrey and Woodward.

According to plans, Dunkin Donuts would demolish the existing greenhouse structure and construct a new multi-tenant, one-story retail building. Dunkin Donuts would move into the new building along with two other tenants, to be determined at a later date.

Dunkin Donuts is also looking to add a drive-thru, with access via an alley that runs behind the building, parallel to Woodward. However planning board members were concerned with the plans, noting that if the drive-thru were to go in as planned, the alley may be blocked by cars waiting to enter the drive-thru.

According to a report from the city's , the queue for the drive-thru lane only has space for five cars.

"This creates a scenario that will likely result in cars waiting in the public alley to enter the drive-thru lane," the report reads. "If backed up, the drive-thru would create several traffic conflicts in the alley."

In addition, the exit point for the drive-thru would require eliminating more than three parkings spots in front of the building — a move that goes against parking demand.

"As the Planning Board is aware, the supply of available parking in the area is in great demand," the report reads. "Because of this, the Planning Division can not recommend the removal of any existing parking in the area."

It's the drive-thru that's bringing Dunkin Donuts before the Planning Board for a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP). A SLUP requires approval by the city commisison.

The Planning Board sent Dunkin Donuts back with several recommendations, including one to either eliminate the drive-thru or provide reliable data of stacked car counts demonstrating that alley traffic won't be disrupted.

Debbie Thomas July 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Hey, the drive-thru stackup should be on their own property. They may need to buy a bigger lot. Hang tough on this, Planning Board. Isn't there a donut place with the new gas station already?
Matt F. July 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
No drive thru please.
Brian Blaesing July 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Agree with Matt. We do not need "drive-thru's" in Birmingham. We claim this is a great "walking city". Let's not destroy it with drive thru's. As soon as this happens, we will get McDonalds, Burger King, Arbys, and all the rest. Bad Idea.

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