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Dunkin Donuts to be built in Hopkinton after court ruling

BY Zachary Comeau

12/14/2017
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78 West Main St. in Hopkinton, as seen from Google street view in 2015.

A vacant lot on Hopkinton’s West Main Street is now being prepared for a Dunkin Donuts following years of appeals after the project was approved by town officials.
The land at 78 West Main St., was purchased in 2014 by Dunkin Donuts franchisee Virginio Sardinha, who owns several locations in neighboring towns. The project was officially proposed in 2013. Sardinha's company out of Mendon, S.F. Management, was the entity filing for the project. 
According to an August decision Massachusetts Appeals Court decision, the 3,000-square-foot store can now be constructed after a judge affirmed the decision of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals and reversed the decision of a Land Court judge to reverse the approval. 
Westborough-based Coco Bella LLC, an entity owning abutting property, appealed the boards’ decisions to Land Court.
According to court documents, the town boards’ initial decision was based on an interpretation of a zoning bylaw that a Dunkin Donuts and similar uses are allowed as of right in the rural business district, which allows sit-down restaurants, retail businesses and other light business uses. The bylaw, however, doesn’t define retail stores or restaurants. 
Because not all patrons would be seated, the Land Court judge reversed that decision in 2016, but S.F. Management appealed to the Appeals Court later that year.
The town’s finding was based on the interpretation the Dunkin Donuts would be classified as a retail store, an interpretation that the Appeals Court found was consistent with prior approvals of other coffee shops in the same zoning district.
The town’s interpretation of the proposed Dunkin Donuts as a retail store is a reasonable interpretation of the bylaw, the Appeals Court said.
The MetroWest Daily News first reported Wednesday the site was being prepared for building.