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Popeyes proposed for Squire Road

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  Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the national chain known for its fried chicken sandwiches, is looking to take over the site of the former Honey Dew Donuts on Squire Road, although some neighbors are concerned about trash and traffic the restaurant could generate. The company is seeking a special permit from the City Council to redevelop the site and build a drive-through window as part of the fast-food restaurant, according to Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio, who represented Popeyes before the council last Monday night. The 304 Squire Rd. location is zoned for general business, and restaurants are allowed by right.

  The special permit Popeyes is seeking is strictly for the construction of the drive-through window, according to D’Ambrosio. “This facility has been some sort of food distribution place, a restaurant or sub shop going back to the 1970s, at least,” said D’Ambrosio. The location was formerly home to a Santoro’s sub shop, and then a Tony Lena’s sub shop before Honey Dew operated at the site until about a year ago.

  “The project before you today is very different; this is what I like to call a win-win situation,” said D’Ambrosio. “On the one hand you have a corporate-owned company like a Popeyes, so there are no franchisees here; you have a national corporation that puts together a budget every year for upkeep and maintenance.”

  D’Ambrosio also said Popeyes will be constructing a new, state-of-the-art building with new landscaping and buffer zones along the perimeter of the site. In addition, Popeyes will be closing off all access to Ward 6, with access to Derby Road and Sigourney Street closed off, according to D’Ambrosio. “The current project which is there, which can be operated by a matter of right, allows traffic to flow into Derby Street,” he said. “I would also note, as a matter of right, the current owner could open up an access onto Sigourney Street; there’s no special permit required for that, either. This is a far superior project because it cuts the traffic flow into the city of Revere and redirects it onto Squire Road.”

  However, some Derby Road residents said they are concerned about the potential use of the property. “We pay very high property taxes; we have a lot of pride of ownership on Derby Road, and all we do is pick up litter in front of our houses, morning, noon and night, from drive-through restaurants that are on Squire Road,” said Derby Road resident Michelle Kelley. “This is only going to exacerbate that problem; we’re going to have more of it; we’re going to have more traffic. I understand that the traffic is not going to be able to go down Derby Road exiting from the drive-through, but that doesn’t prevent them from going down Derby Road otherwise, even if they went back onto Squire Road.” Kelley said she would like to see the city consider making Derby Road a one-way street to help eliminate some of the traffic turning onto the street from Squire Road.

  Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino said he was approached by a developer in the fall inquiring about redeveloping the Honey Dew parcel as a mixed-use development with commercial and residential components. “The residents of Ward 6 don’t want apartments, and I made clear that I want to keep Squire Road for commercial use,” said Serino. “We have the old Mobil site down the road that’s been vacant for literally 10 years that every summer is overgrown and disgusting. The Honeydew for the last two years has been overgrown, and if I lived on Derby Road, I wouldn’t want to be looking [at that].”

  Serino said he does believe the Popeyes proposal is a reasonable proposal. “But if the residents come out and don’t want it, then it reverts to by-right,” said Serino. “You open the Popeyes there; you keep the Derby Road access; if enough residents want it like that, we can keep it like that. But I think this proposal is going to benefit the neighborhood: It is going to shut off Derby Road access; you’re going to have nice trees and plantings along there.”

  The proposal will be before the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee on May 9 for further discussion and a recommendation on the special permit.

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