FAIR LAWN – The applicant bidding to construct a drive-thru Dunkin' Donuts at 12-01 River Road did a U-turn and withdrew its application Monday only hours before a fourth Zoning Board hearing at which a final vote was expected.
Edward J. Trawinski, attorney for applicant MO Donuts, Inc. emailed the Zoning Board at 11:53 a.m. Monday that “effective immediately our client hereby withdraws its pending application…we ask that the Board’s experts please cease any and all work thereon and request that any unused escrow funds please be refunded.”
Requests for comment from the applicant and the applicant's attorney went unheeded or were denied at press time.
At the Aug. 10 hearing, number three in the process, the board questioned the applicant’s planner and traffic engineer. For the Aug. 28 regular session, the applicant planner Roger DeNiscia was scheduled to be questioned by board members, borough professionals and the public prior to a final decision.
The last-minute decision to withdraw the drive-thru application, after much time and expense, appeared to come as a shock to local zoning professionals. The applicant proposed constructing a fast-food drive thru Dunkin' Donuts restaurant on the existing footprint of a long-shuttered drive-thru bank. The applicant required use variances for a drive-thru and fast-food operation in the site’s B-4 zone and additional variances for site signs, sign height, and replacement sign setback from curb.
At previous hearings, residents questioned traffic flow into and out of the drive-thru, possible street vehicle congestion, peak traffic volume, vehicle pollution, pedestrian safety, site buffers, inside seating and parking,
Asked about the surprise withdrawal, Trawinski declined comment. Calls to MO Donuts’ principal Thomas Mascia were not returned and partner Keith Kaminskas declined comment. A representative from Halle Realty LLC, current site owner, declined comment.
Trawinski had urged members via a three-page letter in April to grant needed variances, as “it will be demonstrated that having a drive-thru facility in a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant helps alleviate the pressure of those who commute to work or school, thereby promoting the public good.”