Dunkin’ Donuts gets OK’ to add drive-thru


EAST BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board has given conditional approval for Dunkin’ Donuts to build a drive-through area and make other renovations at its existing shop on Route 18 north near Edgeboro Road.

The company applied to the board for major site plan approval and bulk variances to make changes at its building, which is considered a conditional use in the township’s highway commercial zone. According to the township’s staff report, Dunkin’ Donuts will reduce the size of the building, which shares the site with an Ethan Allen furniture store. The doughnut shop will be reduced from 1,750 square feet to about 1,500 so that the drive-through section can be added. In addition, there will be modifications to the site’s circulation pattern and parking area. The changes are limited to Dunkin’ Donuts’ portion of the property.

The drive-through will be located on the northwest side of the site and covered with a canopy. A bypass lane will also be provided, and two concrete islands will be placed near the lane to channel vehicles and provide separation from the adjacent parking aisle.

A small sitting area that currently exists next to the building will be removed to make room for the drive-through.

According to the report, the hours of operation will be seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The maximum number of employees on any given shift will be three or four. There will be 14 parking spots for the renovated Dunkin’ Donuts, and driveway access from Route 18 and Old Bridget Turnpike will remain. Deliveries and loading issues were not addressed at the time of the report.

The site is about 2.5 acres and is surrounded by retail and services on the east, west and south, the Route 18 off ramp to the southeast, and a Wawa store to the northeast. The Dunkin’ Donuts is dwarfed by the nearly 14,000-square-foot Ethan Allen store.

The donut shop has been upgraded over recent years and is in generally good shape, according to the township’s report. The applicant, Joseph Habib, requested variances for the landscaping buffer, parking and driveway setbacks, as well as the facade signs.

Planning Board Chairman Shawn Taylor said Dunkin’ Donuts will be closed during renovations. He said the business will be a good tax ratable for East Brunswick.

Taylor noted that, generally, about half the business of such shops comes from their drive-up windows.