WINCHESTER — For the third time, a plan to build a gas station, convenience store and drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts in town is headed to the N.H. Supreme Court.
It’s another delay for the project at the intersection of routes 10, 78 and 119, some version of which has been in the works since at least as far back as 2012.
After the Winchester Planning Board approved the latest plan in January, a nearby grocery store, Kulick’s Inc., appealed the decision to Cheshire County Superior Court. Judge David W. Ruoff upheld the approval in May.
After unsuccessfully asking the Ruoff to reconsider his ruling, Kulick’s filed a notice of appeal with the N.H. Supreme Court July 3.
In its superior court challenge, and now the appeal, Kulick’s has argued that the planning board should have required a barrier preventing left turns into the site from Route 10, and vice versa.
Courts can strike down planning board decisions only if board members made a legal error or came to an “unreasonable” decision. In his May order upholding the approval, Ruoff wrote that the Winchester Planning Board reviewed ample evidence about traffic during hearings in December and January, and reached a “lawful and reasonable” decision.
Kelly Dowd, the attorney representing Kulick’s, declined to comment on the appeal Thursday. Gary Kinyon, the lawyer for S.S. Baker’s, was not available to comment.
S.S. Baker’s plans to build a gas station and convenience store with a drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts at 4 Warwick Road. The company’s manager and registered agent, Teofilo Salema, has other Dunkin’ franchises in the Monadnock Region.
The proposal first came before the Winchester Planning Board in 2012. The board rejected it that year, prompting an court appeal from S.S. Baker’s. The N.H. Supreme Court decided against the company in 2014.
Meanwhile, in 2013, the planning board approved a revised plan — which Kulick’s in turn appealed. The Supreme Court denied that appeal in 2016, clearing the way for S.S. Baker’s to develop the site.
But the company returned to the planning board with a modified plan, after having acquired an adjoining property. The extra space allowed the planned building to be expanded and placed farther back from the road. This was the plan the board approved in January that is now the subject of the court challenge.