Proposed Dunkin’ Donuts at gas station won’t worsen traffic, expert tells Morristown zoning board

Traffic expert Joseph Staigar testifies for a proposed Dunkin' Donuts. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Traffic expert Joseph Staigar testifies for a proposed Dunkin' Donuts. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Margret Brady

A large crowd of residents came to Wednesday’s zoning board meeting to hear another 75 minutes of testimony regarding a Dunkin’ Donuts proposed for the Gulf station at the intersection of Mills and Washington streets in Morristown.

They heard discussions of traffic counts, crosswalks, buffers, location of driveways, removal of a proposed drive-in window and details about safety factors and some additional seating.

Traffic expert Joseph Staigar testifies for a proposed Dunkin' Donuts. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Traffic expert Joseph Staigar, shown here testifying in March 2015  for a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Joseph Staigar, a traffic consultant for Madison Enterprises LLC, owner of the Gulf station, testified that the fast-food restaurant should have minimal impact on traffic because most Dunkin Donuts customers already will have stopped there for gas on the way to or from work.

In his opinion, a prior auto repair business generated more traffic, because people dropping off cars for repairs needed another vehicle to take them home and return them later.

Staigar also suggested that some Dunkin’ Donuts customers would walk there from the surrounding neighborhood.

In a statement that raised a lot of eyebrows in the audience, Staigar also contended that traffic through the intersection has declined since May of 2014, despite the opening of a Whole Foods Market.

Residents came prepared to ask questions, but board Chairman Cary Lloyd cut short the hearing because of a crowded docket of other cases.  The Dunkin’ Donuts case is scheduled to resume next month.

The project needs a use variance to allow the dual use. And the gas station would need to be re-ratified, because it’s already a non-conforming use in an office/residential zone, according to the project’s lawyer, former Mayor Jay DeLaney.  Additional variances also are required.

A proposed drive-through lane was removed from the application in March, in response to concerns from neighbors.  Plans now call for a one-way employee-only driveway, to access four new parking spaces behind the proposed restaurant.

Those spaces would go into what had been intended as a buffered area; larger trees now would be replaced with smaller shrubs.  The front driveway also would be moved four feet from a crosswalk.

MORE ABOUT THE DUNKIN’ DONUTS APPLICATION

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4 COMMENTS

  1. https://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/company.html
    Relevant quotes:
    “Dunkin’ Donuts is the world’s leading baked goods and coffee chain, serving more than 3 million customers per day. ”

    “Today, there are more than 11,300 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants worldwide”

    Ignoring the “more than” which is marketing speak for 11,301, we come up with a number of 265 customer per day on average. This guy is seriously suggesting that garage had 130 customers every day. That would be the most lucrative shop on the planet.

    I should bill myself as a “reading expert.” I read things that are published for public consumption.

  2. DD cheapens the neighborhood. If a micro-roaster wanted to move in an do a low carbon footprint natural food restaurant and micro-brewery or roastery, do you think the neighborhood would be up in arms? Who knows.. DD should stay where they are… on the other side of town.

  3. Nothing new under the sun here. We went through this in Morris Twp. back in 2009. See provided link, it was approximately a 2 year process before it came to a vote which ended up denying the application.

    https://www.newjerseyhills.com/morris_news_bee/news/doughnut-shop-gets-dunked-by-morris-township-board-of-adjustment/article_8335e042-b148-525e-8f77-5c63c9702079.html

    In my opinion the logic stated below is flawed and makes no sense.
    Joseph Staigar, a traffic consultant for Madison Enterprises LLC, owner of the Gulf station, testified that the fast-food restaurant should have minimal impact on traffic because most Dunkin Donuts customers already will have stopped there for gas on the way to or from work.
    In his opinion, a prior auto repair business generated more traffic, because people dropping off cars for repairs needed another vehicle to take them home and return them later.

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