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Cheshire County Superior Court: Dunkin’ Donuts for Winchester is OK

Union Leader Correspondent

March 11. 2014 6:00PM

WINCHESTER — Cheshire County Superior Court Judge John Kissinger has upheld the town planning board’s approval in July of a proposed convenience store, gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts in town.

At the same time, a Facebook page that blasts the neighboring store owner who took the matter to court has gained more than 600 “Likes” since it was started on Friday.

“The people of Winchester, NH are tired of Butch Plifka blocking new business to town. We want our damn Dunkin’ Donuts!,” the Facebook page says.

Plifka, who owns the Kulick’s grocery store, a gas station and convenience store nearby, took the town to court on Jan. 21, arguing in a hearing that the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts site plan approved by the town in July was too similar to the plan that was denied in 2012 by the town.

The developer, S.S. Baker’s Realty Co., intervened in the case against the town and defended the town’s planning board in court Jan. 21.

Lawyer Kelly E. Dowd, who is representing Kulick’s, said the proposed plan approved in July is not substantially different than the one proposed and rejected in 2012.

Changes included reducing the size of the building by 150 feet, removing one parking space and not allowing vehicles to make a left turn out of the property onto Route 10.

Additionally, a traffic study and storm water management that were part of the rejected 2012 plan were resubmitted as part of the 2013 plan that was approved, he said.

S.S. Baker’s attorney Gary J. Kinyon argued in court that the site plan approved by the board had substantial changes that allowed the board to hear and approve it.

The second plan took into account major issues the planning board had with the first plan, said Kinyon.

S.S. Baker’s Realty Co. now has a case before the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Concord appealing the 2012 denial.

It is probable that he would file a motion in superior court asking Kissinger to reconsider the decision, he said.

His other options would be to do nothing or to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, he said.

“We are considering our legal options,” Dowd said.

An administrator for the Facebook page “Stop Kulick’s Market — Winchester, NH Wants Their Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Tuesday he and the others who started the page did not want to be identified.

In posted comments, the administrator discouraged posted comments suggesting a boycott of Kulick’s, saying the idea behind the page is to support businesses in Winchester and to allow new ones to come in. Some people who commented on the page said the town has one of the highest tax rates in the state and new businesses would ease that burden.

In a Facebook message, an administrator of the page said, “None of us have any affiliation with the developer and I couldn’t tell you if he is a nice guy or not. We are simply sick of key people in town such as Butch Plifka from keeping our town from developing like the surrounding towns have. We have the second highest tax rate in the state partially because we have so little business to assist it.”

Dowd said Plifka is not opposed to Dunkin’ Donuts coming to Winchester, but is opposed to the proposed use of the site for the reasons given in court Jan. 21.

“My client has no issue with Dunkin’ Donuts. We just don’t think it’s the right site for the proposed use,” Dowd said. “Butch has no issues with Dunkin’ Donuts. He doesn’t like this proposal.”

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