Starbucks Location Tabled Over Drive-Thru Concerns

Starbucks is planning to use the current AT&T store location, which is moving to where GameStop was located. Photos by Braden Carmen

DUNKIRK — Despite plenty of public anticipation, Starbucks coffee lovers in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area will have to wait a bit longer before a new location is given the green light.

At a recent meeting with the Dunkirk Town Planning Board, the proposal for a new Starbucks drive-thru on Vineyard Drive in the town of Dunkirk was tabled for the time being.

“We’ll table it for now. You’ll go back to the drawing board, so to say, and we’ll be happy to see you again in front of us,” Planning Board Chairperson Shari Miller said to David Zuppelli, civil engineer for Benderson Development.

The plans are expected to be reevaluated on June 14, at which point the Planning Board hopes to then prepare a recommendation to the Town Board.

Zuppelli presented the initial plans for the Planning Board to review at a recent meeting, but he was met with multiple concerns, mainly centered around the drive-thru lane. The initial plans showed multiple ways to enter the drive-thru lane.

“I don’t like the entrance at all. I feel there’s too many variables,” said Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Mourer. “I see total chaos.”

Mourer later explained, “I am in support of the business, just so you know. That just looks dangerous to me. … You’re going to end up with three or four cars from one direction stacked, three or four cars from the other side, they are going to merge there and it’s going to be a problem. Nobody plays nice when they want coffee.”

The proposed Starbucks location would be taking the place of AT&T in the plaza located on Vineyard Drive. The current AT&T location is set to move from one end of three adjoining buildings in the plaza to the other, replacing the current GameStop location. Starbucks and AT&T would bookend the Little Caesars store in between them. The Planning Board is unaware of when GameStop will vacate the premises at the end of its lease, or what its future plans are when it does.

To make the drive-thru entrance safer and to provide less “chaos,” Benderson Development plans to reconfigure the plans for the lane. “I’m open to ideas,” Zuppelli said.

Another concern related to the proposed location was a clear pathway for tractor-trailers in the plaza to avoid areas with pedestrians.

“I can develop a truck turning plan showing how a truck can enter and exit,” Zuppelli said. “… We don’t ever want trucks going through the front of a plaza. That’s not safe.”

Traffic congestion near the plaza entrances from Vineyard Drive, and also in front of the building, was another point of emphasis at the meeting.

“I don’t want to see backup on Vineyard Drive,” Miller said.

Miller also asked for previous Starbucks traffic studies related to similar locations, including peak hours of operation and how many vehicles are typical for a similar location. Zuppelli said, “I could provide that additional information.”

The Chautauqua County Planning Department said the project has “no significant countywide or inter-community impact.” The same declaration was offered in relation to a pending Popeyes restaurant project.

If the Planning Board does offer a recommendation in favor of the Starbucks location — like it did with the Popeyes project — the Town Board will then have the option to call a public hearing on the matter. After that point, the project could be approved, if the Town Board sees fit.


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