Heavy equipment awaits more construction on the Dunkin' drive-through restaurant site at 3560 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, adjacent to the 35th/Archer Orange Line El station.

Dunkin’ Drive-Through Restarts After Developer Sues City

Published July 5, 2021

Developers of a new Dunkin’ restaurant at 3560 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, have resumed construction after suing the city for yanking permits at the request of 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.

 
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The March 9, 2021, lawsuit filed by Raina Archer LLC against the City of Chicago claimed the city improperly voided the properly obtained permits from 2020.

 
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“The city decided not to fight the suit, asserting that [the developer] had gotten approval from zoning board of appeals,” Cardenas wrote in a June 28, 2021, reply to a query on a private neighborhood group on Facebook.

Engagement From February 2020

The lawsuit stated that the property’s C1-2 zoning allowed the developer to build the Dunkin’ restaurant by right and that it met all permit requirements using the well-established practices of company principal Sanjeev Khatau, who has developed dozens of fast food restaurants in the City of Chicago over the past 20 years.

The lawsuit also detailed developer engagement with the 12th Ward about the project starting in February 2020 and a time line of meetings, attempted meetings and communication with Cardenas and 12th Ward representatives.

The developer applied for and received a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals in October 2020, followed by approval in late 2020 from the Chicago Department of Transportation for driveway changes and storm water management.

 
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Not Informed

The City of Chicago issued a building permit on January 2, 2021, and construction started two days later. On January 14, 2021, the developer received notice from the city that its permits had been voided, the lawsuit said.

As reported here in the McKinley Park News, Cardenas had earlier placed a request to Chicago's Department of Planning and Development to put a hold on the project and conduct a comprehensive review.

At a February 10, 2021, online community meeting for the 12th Ward, Cardenas scrutinized and criticized the Dunkin’ development, and said he was not informed about the building permit, as previously reported.

Ideal for TOD

During this Zoom meeting, Cardenas and several residents cited a desire for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) at the site across from the 35th/Archer Orange Line El station instead of a car-centric use like a drive-through.

 
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“The site is an ideal location for a TOD as highlighted in the McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan,” replied McKinley Park Development Council President John Belcik in the June 28 Facebook discussion.

Khatau and his attorney, Nick Ftikas, previewed the Dunkin’ drive-through plan at the 12th Ward meeting on February 10, relating how the franchise would move from its current spot inside the El station to a standalone drive-through operating 24/7.

 

The interior restaurant would be open 6 a.m. to 3 a.m., and 29 parking spaces would be shared between it and the adjacent Family Dollar store, which resides on the same property parcel, owned by Khatau.

Driveways and Signage

In his June 28 Facebook reply about the Dunkin’ construction, Cardenas suggested the community and his office still have leverage over the development.

 
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“There (are) still driveway permits and signage that … will need our approval, so it’s not ideal — let’s just say that,” Cardenas wrote. "They have permits; they just don't have our good will."

 
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Representatives for the Dunkin’ restaurant developer had not replied to requests for comment as of the time of publication of this article. Neither Cardenas nor 12th Ward representatives had replied to requests for additional comment as of the time of publication of this article.


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