Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts Scott. Blvd. proposal withdrawn

1450 Scott Blvd, via GoogleMaps
The Dunkin' Donuts’ (DD) special land use permit (SLUP) proposed for 1450 Scott Blvd (old Avon Bldg. site) was withdrawn* at the Board of Commissioners’ session on July 22.

Many were looking forward to a Dunkin' Donuts but others warned that DD’s concessions, although substantial, did not address key impacts such as additional pollution from idling cars and traffic congestion. Specifically, the drive-through’s peak operation hours would have coincided with rush hour traffic at an already congested two-lane stretch of road. This additional congestion likely would exacerbate spill-over traffic already impacting nearby residential streets. Community members also noted that the Dunkin' Donuts on North Druid Hills, ChocoLat√© at Clairmont and North Decatur Rds., and several coffee and donut shops in downtown Decatur all succeed without drive-throughs. Unfortunately, Dunkin Donuts (DD) established the drive-through was non-negotiable.

Commissioners Rader and Gannon echoed these traffic congestion concerns. They also have repeatedly voiced the belief that the area’s resurgence (as evidenced by the Suburban Plaza redevelopment, Fuqua’s mixed use redevelopment at the Scott Blvd. Baptist Church site and the Medline LCI study, which includes the Avon Bldg.) warrants a different type of development. The Livable Communities Initiative 2013 implementation report summary notes that LCIs were "created by the Atlanta Regional Commission in 1999 to reduce vehicle emissions and help the region meet stringent federal air quality standards by providing travel options other than driving." Additionally, many have questioned this SLUP’s fit for the area given the Medline LCI's emphasis on health and wellness.
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* Developers can choose to withdraw a SLUP request if it appears unlikely to receive approval. The developer can at that point work on the proposal and resubmit it; we do not have any information as to whether DD will do so. Developers withdraw in deference to the property owner: if a SLUP is rejected by the Board, the property owner must wait 12 months before submitting any other SLUP for the property. This restriction applies to revisions as well as new SLUP requests.