Two 'Formula businesses' OK'd

Dunkin' Donuts anchors 'Central Garage' project in downtown's north end

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— The Warwick Village Planning Board on June 19 granted a conditional use permit for a two-building commercial complex anchored by a Dunkin' Donuts store on Main Street, across Wheeler Street from Village Hall.

The board issued Kennedy Companies a tentative green light to proceed with its proposal to build an 1,800-square-foot Dunkin' Donuts store and a 6,000-square-foot building on the one-acre lot at 93-95 Main St. that previously housed Country Chevy car lot.

The larger "Central Garage" building will house up to three businesses, including a Super Cuts hair salon and a 2,600-square-foot restaurant.

Planning Board Chairman George Aulen said while the project is welcome, his "one question" concerns the number of "formula businesses" that Kennedy Companies plans to lease space to in the complex.

Aulen reminded developer Beau Kennedy and his engineer, Kirk Rother, that one condition of the project's tentative approval is that the site contain no more than two "formula businesses."

Kennedy and Rother would only acknowledge that Dunkin' Donuts and Super Cuts were among the complex's four prospective tenants that could be open for business by late August.

Zoning and architectural codes within the village's historic district, adopted in 2009, define "formula businesses" as those that "are required by contractual or other arrangements to be virtually identical to businesses in other communities as a result of standardized services, merchandise, decor, uniforms and the like."

In other words, franchise businesses such as Dunkin' Donuts and Super Cuts.

The village code states that the "development of such ('formula') businesses, if unchecked and unregulated, would conflict with the distinct atmosphere and unique character for which Warwick’s historic district is recognized … (and) that in order to preserve the character of the business district and other mixed use area, it is reasonable and necessary to monitor and regulate the establishment of formula businesses through issuance of conditional use permits."

Village codes also limit the size of any individual "formula business" to 2,500-square-feet, prohibits drive-through windows and restricts street frontage to 65 feet.

- John Haughey

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