Coffee and doughnuts might have some hurdles to jump if they want to come near downtown Naperville.
Traffic concerns that were a factor in Naperville's rejection of a 2012 plan to build a McDonald's at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Hillside Road stacked up again Wednesday as the planning and zoning commission recommended denial of a Dunkin' Donuts at the site.
The restaurant is the proposed anchor of a 4,915-square-foot retail building with a drive-through, and although it failed to gain the commission's recommendation, plans are expected to move to the city council for consideration.
Commission members said they were concerned drivers would have trouble exiting the site if they wanted to head west on Hillside or south on Washington. They said the restaurant's morning peak would add congestion during an already busy time of drivers commuting or heading to nearby schools.
"There is no doubt this is going to be a traffic nightmare," said Commissioner Robert Williams, who voted along with Commissioner Stephen Frost and chairwoman Patricia Gustin against recommending approval of the development.
The proposal calls for one right-in, right-out entrance on Washington as well as one entrance on Hillside allowing both right and left turns.
A staff report said traffic expected because of the Dunkin' Donuts would cause delays at the intersection of only four seconds. Commissioner Kevin Coyne, who joined commissioner Timothy Messer in supporting the development, said any use at the current site of a Citgo station will bring extra vehicles.
"Traffic is a concern. There's no way to make that go away, though," Coyne said. "We want it to be a functional, useful business adding to the community, and I think this will do that."
Commissioners also brought up worries about noise from the drive-through, trash from the Dunkin' Donuts ending up along the Riverwalk behind the site or late-night "riffraff" frequenting the restaurant after downtown Naperville bars close also were mentioned.
The proposal originally called for the doughnut shop to be open 24 hours, but petitioner Raj Sahsonnie agreed to close the business between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Gustin said she appreciated the concession to close overnight, but she wanted more detail about what the tenants of the two other retail spaces would be, more landscaping along Washington and a more aesthetically pleasing facade facing the Riverwalk. The building's east side now is designed as a plain brick wall that Williams called "dreadfully unattractive."
"Anything else that comes in on that parcel is going to have to be something that's up to Naperville standards," Gustin said. "And I don't mean to be snooty about it, but the downtown area is a very vibrant area."