Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winchester Dunkin' Donuts debate continues

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
WINCHESTER — The battle over whether Winchester gets a Dunkin’ Donuts now involves more court orders and a pro-coffee, pro-doughnuts Facebook page.
Cheshire County Superior Court Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. issued an order Feb. 28 upholding decisions made by the Winchester Planning Board and zoning board last year approving the proposed combined convenience store, Dunkin’ Donuts and gas station at 4 Warwick Road.
On Friday, the plaintiff in the case, Kulick’s Inc., filed a motion asking Kissinger to reconsider his decision. A hearing on that motion has yet to be scheduled.
Kulick’s, a grocery store with gas pumps at 30 Warwick Road, is owned by Stanley S. Plifka Jr.
The Feb. 28 court order came after a Jan. 21 hearing during which Attorney Kelly E. Dowd of Keene, who is representing Kulick’s, argued the planning board illegally approved the project in July 2013. Not enough changes were made to the project’s plans from when the board rejected them the year before, he said.
In addition, the board granted two waivers without S.S. Baker’s Realty Co. LLC making a case for hardship in adhering to zoning requirements, which is required to get a waiver, Dowd said.
He said the planning board shouldn’t have approved the project application without a stormwater management plan. The board instead made such a plan a condition of approval, rather then denying the application itself, he said.
He also said it was wrong of the board to rely on a flawed traffic study, and to conclude that a special exception granted in February 2012 for the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through lane hadn’t expired.
Representing the defendants, attorney Matthew R. Serge of Concord, who is representing Winchester, and Attorney Gary J. Kinyon of Keene, who is representing S.S. Baker’s, argued against Dowd’s points at the January hearing.
The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a lengthy legal battle over the project that S.S. Baker’s is proposing for the 1.19-acre property at the corner of Main Street (Route 10) and Warwick Road (Route 78).
In July 2012, the Winchester Planning Board denied S.S. Baker’s first application for the roughly 3,500-square-foot convenience store, gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts.
S.S. Baker’s, which is based in Keene, appealed the decisions to Cheshire County Superior Court. The court upheld the planning board’s decision in April 2013. At that time, Kulick’s sided with the town in the lawsuit.
S.S. Baker’s then appealed the superior court decision to the N.H. Supreme Court in Concord. That case is still pending.
Around the same time, S.S. Baker’s submitted a second set of plans to the planning board for approval.
In the midst of the legal wrangling, a Facebook page titled “Stop Kulick’s Market — Winchester, NH wants their Dunkin Donuts” popped up earlier this month. As of Friday afternoon, the page had 722 likes, which is about 17 percent of the town’s population of 4,341. It’s also 45 more people than the 677 who voted at town meeting on March 11.
Kulick’s isn’t against Dunkin’ Donuts, Dowd said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.
“Kulick’s has no issues with Dunkin’ Donuts coming to the town of Winchester. We have issues with what they’re proposing to do on this particular site.”

Meghan Foley can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or Follow her on Twitter @MFoleyKS.


Anonymous said...

Its spoken loud and clear. We have more people concerned with gas station than town issues. Let's face the reality of this business. It's a Mr Mikes with better donuts. Is that what we need? As for jobs... I bet their will be an equal amount of people laid off from Mr Mikes as gets hired at the new gas station. Net job gain..... Zero.

Anonymous said...

This battle over Dunkin donuts has been going on too long. March 29th marks the 5th anniversary of the moving of the victorian house that used to sit on that corner lot. It's quite obvious what Kulicks's problem with the proposal is. Since the plan also includes a convenience store (Irving Circle K) with gas pumps, Kulick's feels that this will cut down on the revenue at the Sunoco gas pumps owned by Sandri. Kulick''s receives a commission on the gas sales plus rental income. If the sales go down too much , Sandri is likely to remove the pumps. This means less money for Mr. P. I doubt that he would be putting up such a fight if it was only a Dunkin Donuts that was proposed. Each time this battle goes to court it costs the taxpayers of this down money in legal fees.

Open your eyes said...

If you're so worried about the town's legal fees, why don't you go and express your concerns with the BOS? They have allowed, Ruth and Beaman and Sharra to completely revamp our Zoning laws to allow crap like this proposal on a tiny lot that otherwise wouldn't fly in any other town. This proposal was shut down based on laws, upheld by a judge and then after regulations had been changed along with personal on the board, back he comes to get an approval. Doesn't anyone smell the stench of an inside deal? We don't need 4 gas stations within a half mile of each other, this isn't Keene.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see there are others see the light. This is a gas station. We don't need another Mr Mikes. Put a dunkin donuts stand alone on the property and it would get support. Doesn't anyone think of the man on the other corner who makes a living at pumping gas? Let's look at the big picture and not just the fact all the coffee and donuts in town are horrible. If you want donuts don't ask for a gas station.

Is this what you want? said...

An Irving station would probably put J&G's out of business and when they sell the corner property to someone like McDonald's, its by by Diner.

Concerned said...

I definitely agree with :Open Your Eyes", and "Anonymous"..A stand alone Dunkin Donuts might work there, (albeit serve to enlarge more waist lines in town), and be a traffic nightmare, but another gas station is rediculous. We don't need it in Winchester.

Buy local said...

At one of the busiest intersections into/out of town, traffic delays due to lines of folks waiting for morning coffee and donuts might be a problem. We don't need another gas station/convenience store in that immediate area either; the town would be better served in that regard by having one on the other side of the lake (spread out the business more).
I prefer Diner coffee (or Green Mountain at Mr. Mike's after diner closes) to the dishwater-tasting Dunkin coffee, but out-of-towners will go for "box store" stuff, to the detriment of our LOCAL folks.

Anonymous said...

If people choose to eat at McDonald's instead of the diner then what does that say about the diner?

Anonymous said...

A FOR SALE sign went up on the corner last week. looks like Dunkin' gave up.