Derby Street residents concerned about a Popeyes fast-food restaurant opening at the end of their street on Squire Road have seen several measures taken over the past month to address some of their fears. At the August 24 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the board unanimously approved a variance limiting the restaurant to nine parking spaces. Under the city’s zoning regulations, 13 would have been required for the 304 Squire Rd. restaurant. The City Council granted a special permit for a drive-through window at the proposed Popeye’s back in May.
“What we are seeking today is a reduction in the number of parking spaces from the requested 13 to nine, and we are also seeking a reduction in the width of the travel aisle toward the rear of the property,” said Attorney Chris Cridler, the attorney for applicant Revere Dev LLC. “We had the opportunity to speak to many of the community, and they actually preferred to have the ability to have a buffer between the Derby Street wall and the travel lane for the property itself. If necessary, we can add the additional four spots in that buffer because it is not required by the ordinance, but we want to try to accommodate the community the best as we possibly can.”
The buffer will include vegetation and some additional trees, according to Cridler. He also noted that the only access to the restaurant will be on Squire Road.
The restaurant will have about 14 seats – Cridler added that the majority of business is done through the drive-through. “It’s been that way for many, many different fast-food restaurants, specifically since the pandemic,” said Cridler.
During the public hearings for the special permit for the drive-through window in front of the City Council earlier this year, a number of residents said they were concerned about increased traffic down Derby Street and surrounding roads, as well as additional litter from the restaurant. Several residents noted that the neighborhood already deals with an influx of additional traffic and trash from the existing fast-food restaurants and businesses on Squire Road.
Earlier in August, the city’s Traffic Commission approved some changes for the neighborhood off Squire Road near the Popeyes site to limit traffic, including making the area of Derby Street near Squire Road a temporary one-way street heading toward Squire so cars on that busy street would not be able to turn onto Derby.