Five Guys Restaurant to add drive-thru

WESTFIELD – Near the end of a four-hour meeting on Aug. 18, the Planning Board approved a site plan amendment for Five Guys Restaurant in Little River Plaza to add a drive-thru window for customers.

Robert Levesque of R. Levesque Associates said the Five Guys was developed a few years ago and business had been going well, but since then the Little River Plaza has been going through ownership changes. The most recent changes with COVID-19 led the owner to contact Levesque to ask if they could retrofit the building for a drive-thru on the western side of the property next to the Verizon store.

“Right now, Five Guys does not have drive-thru service, and with the current situation, it’s a very big need,” he said.

Levesque said there will be no other major changes to the site plan or the plaza. The plan calls for the removal of five parking spaces in the drive-thru area, and moving the dumpster to the other side. He said they are working with the applicant to get a temporary easement from the neighboring business during construction.

The drive-thru will allow for 12 cars total stacked in a 12-foot wide lane, with six cars in front of the ordering kiosk out front.

The amendment was unanimously approved

The Planning Board also approved a minor change to the site plan for the Big Y Express at 330 E. Main St., which is under construction, to permit a curb cut and driveway connection between the gas station and the Whip City Car Wash at 334 E. Main St., so people don’t have to go back out on the street to get to the neighboring business.

A representative of Benesch and Company said when they approached Westfield Gas & Electric about an electric connection, the utility suggested that Big Y connect to the adjacent electric at Whip City Car Wash. The car wash in turn suggested a driveway between the two businesses.

The representative said the driveway will allow for one car at a time. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.

City Planner Jay Vinskey said the connection could be accepted as a minor change, and it was approved unanimously.

Board members also rectified a 30-year-old error for the owner of a subdivided property at 85 Fairfield Ave. and 140 Russell Road.

Owner George Lyttle said the Planning Board and the Zoning Board approved a waiver to allow 50-foot frontage on Fairfield Ave. in order to subdivide the property for a second house. He said his lawyer was supposed to record the waiver and deed, and failed to do so. He does have a copy of the waiver that was granted but not recorded.

“I’m trying to straighten the property out for the kids,” Lyttle said. He said the two houses have been there for thirty years, and he has paid taxes on both.

Cheryl Crowe, who was chair pro tem of the meeting, said she had no problem with issuing the waiver, since it was already accepted in 1991. “In my perspective, I would allow this,” she said, to which the other members agreed.

Two abutters did call in to the public hearing, expressing concern about changes shown to the property line between the two properties. Lyttle said he was trying to divide the properties up evenly, but if it was going to cause a problem, he wouldn’t do it. He also said no new construction was planned, which was the main concern of the neighbors.

Vinskey said the public hearing was to grant the pre-existing frontage waiver. He said the property line between the two properties was not relevant, and also that any future construction would require a permit from the Building Inspector.

The hearing was closed, and the Board voted to accept the waiver.

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