Brick Township’s planning board on Wednesday night approved a proposal to build a new Dunkin’ Donuts location with a drive-through window on Route 88.
The proposal drew objections from some neighboring residents, who worried about an increase in traffic and the drive-through lane’s proximity to their homes, but the Dunkin’ Donuts store is squarely located within a commercial zone and its representatives said traffic impacts would be minimal since most customers are already traveling on Route 88.
The store will be located near the intersection of Folsom Drive (diagonally across from J’s Garden Spot), and about 1,000 feet away from an existing Dunkin’ Donuts located in a strip mall. The strip mall store (which is owned by the same local franchisee) would be closed, as the purpose of the new location is to expand and offer a drive-through.
Several residents of Folsom Drive said they opposed the layout of the Dunkin’ Donuts since the only way for motorists to make a left turn back onto Route 88 would be through a side entrance that empties out on their street. There is about 50 feet of space between the store’s exit and the stop sign at the end of the street. Folsom also connects to Center Drive, which leads to Old Squan Road.
“We’re concerned that as people ‘learn’ the facility, they’re going to start using the back entrance down Center [Avenue],”
“NJDOT has determined that the spacing of the site driveway to Folsom meets their site requirements and standards,” said Scott Kennel, a traffic engineer hired by the Dunkin’ Donuts operator. “This type of use is generally traffic that is already on the roadway system during peak hours. The predominant movement is going to be a right turn in and right turn out. Most people who use these facilities use the location that is easiest for them.”
Kennel testified that there is significantly more stacking space in the drive-through lane than what is present at the Herbertsville Road location, where traffic sometimes builds up in the morning. That Dunkin’ Donuts location was a bank that was retrofitted versus the newly-approved location that is purpose-built using a brand-new corporate template for a Dunkin’ store.
“This is a brand new prototype for Dunkin’ Donuts,” said architect Gary Kliesch, noting that the signage will reflect the company’s new “Dunkin'” imaging.
Other residents said they were concerned about traffic and pedestrians sharing the same space, and still others worried about noise from delivery trucks, but John Jackson, attorney for Dunkin’ Donuts, said his team worked closely with the township engineer and planner to create vegetation and other mitigating factors to protect neighboring residential properties.
“What we have is a site that has been designed with the input and suggestions along the lines of exactly what the township professionals have proposed,” Jackson said.
The board unanimously approved the application.