April 6, 2010 – MARLBOROUGH — The City Council last night supported two major business projects – a proposed Sonic drive-in restaurant and the addition of a sixth rink at New England Sports Center. The council unanimously approved the special permit for Sonic. The chain proposes building a restaurant on Rte. 20 next to the Bank of America and across from the Hannaford plaza.
The special permit process worked out well, Sonic attorney Donald Conn said after the meeting. “I think the final permit is reasonable,” Conn said.
The restaurant would likely take about six months to build, Sonic representatives said.
There is one other Massachusetts Sonic, in Peabody, and one set to open this month in Wilmington. The restaurant has a retro theme, featuring roller-skating servers who bring food out to patrons’ cars.
The special permit includes a condition, recently suggested by Councilor at large Patricia Pope, that requires Sonic to hold a job fair for Marlborough residents and contractors. Sonic does not have a problem with the condition, Councilor at large Steven Levy said.
The next step is site plan review, Conn said.
The restaurant needed the special permit because of the proposed drive-through window.
The City Council should review the ordinance that requires businesses to get a special permit for drive-through windows, Ward 2 Councilor Paul Ferro said. The special permit process is long and the existing drive-through windows are not problematic, he said.
Ferro added that he is looking forward to the burgers, limeade and Tater Tots at Sonic.
The council also unanimously approved the New England Sports Center’s special permit amendment to add a sixth rink.
The rink, at 121 Donald Lynch Blvd., received extensive support at its public hearing before the council in March.
A few neighbors opposed the project, raising worries such as loitering and light spilling onto their property. The Urban Affairs Committee discussed those worries and the business agreed to several changes in the plan, including the addition of a security camera.
“They’ve addressed all the concerns raised by neighbors,” Levy, the committee chairman, said last night. “They do want to be a good neighbor.”
Councilors suspended the rules to take the immediate vote on the amendment. The Urban Affairs Committee recommended approval of the project and the rules suspension at its meeting on March 23.
Rink construction would likely take about 17 weeks. Center representatives said they hope to open the rink in September.
(Paul Crocetti can be reached at 508-490-7453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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