Dunkin’ Donuts – Millbury MA

Designed in 2011 and built in 2012 this particular project is a great example of the difficulties of getting approvals under the ever increasing amount of regulations.  20 Years ago this would have bean an extremely easy project to get approved.  It is a business in the downtown business district of Millbury, MA.  It brings the town constant revenue and is run by a great corporation, Dunkin’ Donuts.

However there are many regulations now that almost made this site impossible to get approved.  The site was once occupied by a spillway, gatehouse, and canal for the Hayward-Schuster Woolen Mills.  The site is also adjacent to the Blackstone River.  Once the Canal was abandoned the gatehouse overflow spillway was filled and topped with asphalt as a parking lot for Mclaughlins Gas Station.  The site is located at a busy intersection on Elm street and Canal street.  The site shares a lot with an existing  gas station. To the layman it does not seem that this would effect the site in terms of approval, but to Land Planning, Inc we instantly realized this would be a difficult approval process, difficult but not impossible.

We quickly gave our client 3-4 sketches of site layouts for a Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-thru window.  We also gave our client a list of requirements that would need to be met and a list of concerns we had with local, state, and federal regulations.  Some of the Concerns we had were the following:  The site is entirely located within the 200′ Riverfront Zone and therefore protected by DEP;  The site is partly developed with a gas station which is a higher pollutant loading rate; The site is located at an existing traffic light and will require a traffic study;  The site has a town sewer main and a town drain for most of the downtown area.  Our concept plans showed all of this and accounted for it.  We planned to improve the drainage and oil separation for the existing gas station.  Also, we had a plan to connect an oil separation unit to the towns existing drain to reduce any possible impact on the Blackstone River.

As expected the approval process was difficult to say the least.  However, our designs which protected the environmentally sensitive Blackstone River, above and beyond the minimum requirements, were too good to deny and the town had no choice but to approve the project.