Our Opinion: Delay weakens case for Dunkin' Donuts permit

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The Pittsfield City Council should set a March 22 deadline on the permit for a Dunkin' Donuts on Tyler Street, but the developer hasn't made a good case regardless.

In September, Cafua Management, won points by abandoning its controversial plan to buy and raze the former St. Mary the Morningstar Church and build a Dunkin' Donuts and drive thru on the site. Its alternative was to give the church building to the city and build the restaurant and drive thru elsewhere on the subdivided property.

However, in the interim, the City Council has been unsuccessful in requesting funding from Cafua for engineering and other studies related to the developer's proposal, resulting in the postponement of two hearings on the developer's needed special permit. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Dianne DiNicola of the Friends of St. Mary's Ad Hoc Committee requested the March 22 deadline, telling councilors that the church building has further deteriorated during the delay and the uncertainty surrounding the status of the building and property is chasing way other potential bidders for both.

What Cafua is thinking is unknown. Perhaps it is waiting for a pending decision on its appeal to the Massachusetts Land Court of the City Council's rejection of a drive thru at the congested First and Fenn Street intersection where it first proposed a new Dunkin Donuts. Cafua has not been fair to either the St. Mary's group or the city by leaving both hanging, and Pittsfield won't suffer if there is one less Dunkin' Donuts.


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