PITTSFIELD -- The city Community Development Board has backed the proposed new Dunkin' Donuts along First Street -- minus a controversial drive-thru window.

The board briefly met Wednesday afternoon to clarify its position on the project that was apparently left unclear following last week's meeting regarding the fast-food restaurant, according to city planners.

By a 4-0, with one member absent, the panel approved the site plan for the eatery as it met all the zoning requirements.

However, the board voted 4-0 to recommend the City Council deny the developers a special permit for the drive-thru operation.

"It is inconsistent with the goals of the [city's] master plan and it's inappropriate for that location," said board member Judith Katz.

The council is expected to take up the special permit request at its regularly scheduled meeting on April 23.

Cafua Management Co. of North An dover wants to demolish the former Plunk ett School at the corner of First and Fenn streets and erect a Dunkin' Donuts that would replace the franchise it operates on First Street between Fenn and East streets.

Cafua manages three other Dunkin' Donuts franchises in the city, but the existing one on First Street has raised the ire of some city officials and residents because of the drive-thru window. Customers lined up in the drive-thru lane are often backed up onto First during its busiest times, impeding the traffic flow on the street and to and from the eatery's parking lot.

The proposed new Dunkin' Donuts has raised similar concerns about potential traffic impact in the area and the demolition of the former school.

The Pittsfield Historical Commission, a number of city officials and residents had expressed a desire to restore the now-vacant 103-year-old school building, but the estimated renovation cost has apparently discouraged potential developers.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.