Planning Board Chairman Parker Mathusa said he encourages new business in Bethlehem, but with potential congestion of an already busy intersection, initial plans for a drive-through business might have to take a back seat to safety.
We hate to thwart the guy trying to make a living, said Mathusa. "We just want to alleviate the safety issue."
Frank Hessari, the owner of Glenmont Mobil, located at the intersection of Route 9W and Feura Bush Road, went before the board with an initial presentation for the addition of a drive-through Dunkin' Donuts at the Tuesday, Aug. 5, meeting. In the proposal, the drive-through would be located on the front left corner of the gas station, leaving room for parking and vehicles at the gas pump.
Among the concerns the Planning Board had with the site plan was the problem of stacking, or build-up of cars waiting at the drive-through for service, and the safety of surrounding pedestrians and other drivers on an already busy and complicated intersection.
Hessari and Chris Boyea, the lead consulting engineer on the project, said they believe the project will be good for business.
Boyea and Hessari said they have looked at similar, nearby drive-throughs to see the peak hours for stacking and overall business.
"I think it will be a good mix. I think we can still make a viable business out of it," said Boyea.
Planning Board member John Smolinsky said that circulation on site would be a problem, conflicting with pedestrians at the pump or those going inside the store.
Planning Board member Kate Powers said that, "The concept as a whole is a good idea," although she said she has questions with parking on-site and circulation of the different parts of the business with the gas pumps and the drive-through.
"I worry about safety with traffic around the gas station itself," said Mathusa. "At 7:30 in the morning, people get a little impatient."