October 1, 2020

Essex Zoning Board of Appeals to Consider Appeal for Dunkin Donuts Relocation

ESSEX— The zoning board of appeals will be asked next week to overrule the town’s zoning enforcement officer and allow Dunkin Donuts to relocate to a vacant restaurant space in the commercial building at 31-33 Main Street in the Centerbrook section. The board’s meeting begins Tuesday Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the owner of the 31-33 Main Street building, JMB Properties LLC of Cheshire, is appealing his denial last month of a zoning permit to relocate the Dunkin Donuts from its current location as part of the Shell gasoline station at 23 Main St. to the space formerly occupied by Debbie’s Restaurant in the 31-33 Main St. building. The restaurant space has been vacant for more than two years. Dunkin Donuts has been in operation at the nearby 23 Main St. site for about five years.

Budrow said he had advised representatives of JMB Properties and Dunkin Donuts that a special permit from the zoning commission would be required to relocate the Dunkin Donuts and offer sit down restaurant service. He said the owner of JMB Properties, John Weinstein, has decided to first pursue an appeal to the ZBA. The existing Dunkin Donuts at 23 Main St. provides counter take out service only, while the Dunkin Donuts at the proposed 31-33 Main St. site would have about 30 seats for eat in customers.

Budrow said Weinstein and Dunkin Donuts could apply to the zoning commission for a special permit for the 31-33 Main St. site at any time.   He maintained a special permit from the zoning commission would be required to relocate the Dunkin Donuts even if the ZBA overrules his denial of the requested zoning permit. The special permit application process would include a required public hearing before the zoning commission.