Possible KFC faces bucketload of opposition

Mar 24, 2022

Multiple residents wrote and spoke to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday to oppose a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise proposed for the corner of Route 6 and Tucker Road.

A special permit is required by the Zoning Board because the lots the KFC would go on lie within an aquifer overlay protection district.

The land currently hosts the former Help-U-Sell and once held old Smith Mills Friends Meeting House.

Attorney Richard Manning, who represents applicant D.E. Foods, said that the land has been virtually unused for more than a decade. The addition of the KFC, he argued, would be a great benefit to the town.

“It would provide dining options to local residents, job opportunities for the community, and be located in an area which contains almost exclusively similar businesses” he said.

If approved, the existing structures would be razed to place a 1,755 square foot structure, along with a double-stacked drive-thru lane.

The lane would hold up to 12 vehicles.

While many residents spoke in favor of having a KFC in town, they said they felt having it at that location would lead to additional traffic problems on a road that already sees substantial backups.

“That is not the right place for it,” resident Diane Sylvia wrote to the Zoning Board. “That intersection is part of an ongoing traffic quagmire of Route 6 — another location should be sought.”

Sylvia was not alone in her sentiments.

“While we understand their desire [for] a busy location, that intersection is crazy busy all the time,” wrote Carol and Arthur Cabral. “A KFC or any business with a drive-thru would be insane there.”

The primary traffic concern cited was the possibility of additional blockage on Tucker Road from other businesses along that stretch of Route 6.

“If anyone takes a right on to Tucker Road, many times you can’t because someone has blocked the entrance at Dunkin’ Donuts,” resident Lynn Carter wrote. “If the entrance/exit is put on Tucker Road, turning left to go north would be impossible — if it’s on Route 6 it would be impossible to get across two or three lanes.”

If the special permit is approved, Police Chief Brian Levesque suggested that an exit from the KFC be a right turn only lane onto Tucker Road to alleviate any potential traffic jams.

Manning said that since the KFC would have different peak operating hours compared to the Dunkin’, blockage of Tucker road would not contribute to increased traffic. He cited a traffic study conducted by GPI Engineering in November 2021.

According to the study, wait times would “only increase two to three seconds.”

“It would have a very minimal impact on the intersection,” said Rebecca Brown, a project manager at GPI.

She also highlighted state plans to install new traffic signals at the intersection at Route 6 and Hathaway Road, while moving existing signals at Tucker Road approximately 100 yards east.

According to Brown, traffic delays would be reduced by 10 seconds per vehicle once the state’s plans are implemented.

“It’s a pretty significant reduction,” she said.

The project is fully funded and construction is expected to begin in spring 2024.

Ultimately, the Zoning Board decided to continue the public hearing to at least its May 11 meeting in order to peer-review the applicant’s traffic study.