Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins have agreed to take
over the former home of Bonjour Cafe & Bakery at Meridian and 24th streets if the owner wins city approval to add a drive-through.
Travis May of Greenfield-based HSM Development Inc. has asked for the zoning variance for the 1,969-square-foot building at
2402 N. Meridian St., in front of the Library Services Center. New drive-throughs are not allowed for businesses along Meridian
Street, in part to encourage the development of a more urban and pedestrian-friendly corridor. The proposed drive-through
would not even meet the code if it were allowed in the area; the property only has room for five stacking spaces for cars,
less than the required eight. That's why the city's planning staff so far is recommending the request be denied. But
David Kingen, an urban planner who represents the building owner, says the drive-through will be along the building's
western façade, hidden from view of Meridian, and the new tenant will bring life to one of several vacant buildings
in the area. The Dunkin/Baskin concepts also should attract a moderate level of traffic throughout the day, rather than in
one rush, he said. "The notion of no drive-throughs is admirable until you look at all the existing drive-throughs that
aren't going away," said Kingen, who is courting support from neighborhood associations. He said the deal is a no-go
without the drive-through. A hearing is scheduled for July 6. How would you vote?