Board Approves Special Exception, Paving the Way for Dunkin’ to Come to North Warren

The property at 333 Jackson Run Road in North Warren, proposed site of Dunkin'

WARREN, Pa. – The Warren County Zoning Hearing Board approved a petition for special exception on Wednesday, paving the way for a Dunkin’ to come to North Warren.

Drive-thru restaurants require a special exception, an additional layer of review, which Warren County Deputy Planning Director Michael Lyon said was just simply part of the process.

“As with every special exception, the name is misleading,” Lyon said during Wednesday’s meeting “It’s not special or exceptional. It’s just permitted with a higher level of clearance.”

The site is the former Marine Bank Building at 333 Jackson Run Road, which sits right on the corner of Jackson Run and Route 62.

“From a zoning aspect, for a drive-thru, we really don’t have any issues,” Lyon said. “PennDOT requires an updated highway occupancy permit. PennDot needs to approve that, which I’m sure they will.”

Todd Markevicz of APD Engineering was at Wednesday’s meeting representing Dunkin’ and explained that, while the restaurant is also dine-in, a large number of its business is done via drive-thru.

“Data suggests that 75 percent of business is done via drive-thru,” he said. “They do need the drive-thru. That’s how they will succeed. Operationally, we don’t feel like that will be an issue.”

Markevicz also said that the building would be maintained, with renovations.

“What our client would like to do is convert the existing building, maintain the existing walls and do an interior conversion,” Markevicz said. “There would be little to no change to the site itself.”

The next step, Lyon said, was to get the highway occupancy permit from PennDot, citing there is no specific timetable for construction to begin.