July 22, 2011

Burger King replacement will be smaller

By Keith Edwards
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- The dated Burger King restaurant on Western Avenue is slated for demolition and replacement with a smaller version with a reworked drive-through.

If approved by city planners, construction would start next month and take about 75 days to complete, according to Paul Lenowicz, construction manager for Carrols Corp., owner of the Augusta Burger King.

It would be closed during demolition and construction.

"It will have a new image. Burger King has a new look," Lenowicz said Thursday. "It will be a little smaller, more energy-efficient and more geared to the drive-through."

Plans filed with the city show the drive-through window of the restaurant would be moved to the opposite side of where it is now. Currently, customers walking in or out of the main entrance of the building have to walk through the path of motorists leaving the drive-through window, and it's on a corner, which means both drivers and walkers have trouble seeing each other approach.

"Traffic circulation can be difficult there, with a conflict between pedestrians and traffic," Matt Nazar, city planner and deputy development director, said of the drive-through. "They're altering the drive-through pattern. And they're constructing a smaller building, which will provide more space for traffic circulation."

The project is expected to need a minor development review and building permit from the city. The proposal is scheduled to go to the Planning Board Aug. 9 for a public hearing.

Lenowicz said if approved by the board, work will start the following week.

The new 2,415 square-foot restaurant will be in about the same place as the 3,770 square-foot building is now.

The property is on 1.4 acres leased by the company from the owners of the adjacent shopping center since 1971.

Carrols Corp. owns and operates approximately 315 Burger Kings in 12 states, and employs more than 10,000 people, according to its website.

At the same meeting, planners are also scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed modifications to land-use ordinance noise standards regulating outdoor speakers, such as those at drive-throughs.

Nazar said that issue coming up at the same meeting is a coincidence, and the speaker discussion is not directly related to the application for a new Burger King on noisy, commercial Western Avenue.

"To the best of my knowledge there have been no complaints about" the Burger King's drive-through speakers, Nazar said.

Nazar said some board members have expressed concerns about noise from outside speakers at businesses disturbing residential neighbors. Such speakers include not just drive-throughs, but also paging systems, such as those used by some car dealers to contact employees across parking lots.

Some board members have suggested restricting such speakers to volumes at which they could not be heard beyond the property of the business.

Keith Edwards -- 621-5647

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