Unnamed fast-food restaurant approved for site permit

Westfield City Planner

WESTFIELD – The Planning Board approved a site permit for an “unnamed” fast food restaurant at 457 E. Main Street in the Big Y Plaza. The new “free standing fast casual restaurant” will have drive-up services, an indoor dining room and an outdoor dining patio.

Developer Henry Resnikoff of Essex, CT, said what makes the restaurant different is that it will have no outdoor order board and cashier kiosk, as drive-through orders will be pre-ordered and paid through an app only.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people pre-order and get a time or select a time. If the order isn’t ready, they can circle the building and an app on the phone shows what time the order will be ready,” Resnikoff said.

When pressed on which restaurant will be going in, Resnikoff said he has a non-disclosure agreement with his client and the name is intentionally not on the plan, which is listed under Massfield, LLC.

“I understand your client’s desire to not disclose who they are, but it makes it more difficult for us as a Planning Board to not know what we’re approving here. It makes it difficult in my mind,” said Jane Magarian.

City Planner Jay Vinskey said that the applicant is seeking site plan approval for by-right use and the Planning Board might take a broader look at it. 

After the meeting, Vinskey clarified his statement by saying that not knowing the specific chain,  members might take a more site-plan based, broader analysis not colored by some expected notion, such as, is the site plan functional in any situation. He also said the business may change over time to some other restaurant which may operate differently than the idea of what was approved. and not knowing allows the board to look at how the space will function in general.

The single story building will be 2.427 square feet with a 300 sq. ft. outside patio, accessible from the traffic light at CVS and Applebee’s. Resnikoff said there will be an overall reduction by 5,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface to the site, as landscaping will be added to the side of the building.

There will be a net loss of 53 parking spaces for the Big Y, which signed off on the plan, according to Resnikoff. A bike rack will be installed, and sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians from Big Y to the facility and out to Route 20 will be added.

In response to further questions, Resnikoff said the hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week, with peak hours around 7 p.m., varying by location. Resnikoff said this particular user does not have any 24 hour restaurant in its entire chain. He said the drive-through business will be approximately fifty-fifty, and the capacity of the indoor seating area, 35 to 40 people.

Resnikoff said tenant signage will be on the building and in a space on the Pylon sign for the Big Y Plaza.

After considering the circulation of the drive through lanes, Planning Board member Richard Salois said his only concern is that the two travel lanes will be constricted, and asked if there was a way to gain more footage on the travel way.

Resnikoff said the restriction is intentional, but they could pull it back six inches to a foot, which Salois said would help. Expansion of the drive lane was added as a condition to the site permit, which was approved.

The proposed construction, which is in the flood plain, is also subject to Conservation Commission and compensatory storage approval.

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