Saturday, June 17, 2006

Small Town News - Subway Sandwich Shop

In our local small New England river town, we have some hot issues. First, let me describe our town. It is a tremendously heterogeneous combination of blue collar folks, and a good amount of post baby boom young families, wealthy bedroom community homes and ex-patriot artists, writers, professionals looking for a better life style from the big city.

We are lucky that we are not on a main thoroughfare, such as US Route 1, but we are on a minor thoroughfare. So we are not yet full of Mac Donalds, Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queens, etc., nor do we have ‘big box’ stores such as Home Depot, nor do we have shopping malls. We are still a relatively cute little town, albeit a tad run down. Some local businesses have a hard time making a go of it here while others flourish. The only chain businesses that we have in town are banks and gas stations.

That all started to change last year when a Subway Sandwich Shop tried to move into town. Many folks in town felt that Subway would diminish our town’s attractiveness. Also, we had been free from fast-food chains up until then. So the public loudly opposed their entry at the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) public hearing simply because they are a chain, but the P&Z turned them down officially for traffic reasons, including inadequate parking.

However, Sean, worked as an architect for the guy who was selling a portion of his building to Subway, and knew that the parking situation was fine and the real problem was customers from the restaurant across the street parking in the future Subway’s lot. Sean helped the appellant’s lawyer prepare an appeal on this very point and they won in the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) completely overturning the P&Z’s decision to bar Subway from our town. So the Subway Sandwich Shop was built in our town (and I blame Sean for it). But, the important thing is that he proved that the ZBA can overturn a P&Z decision setting a precedent in our town.

So we got this:

Which is far better than this:

However, ominously the eyes of all of the chains now pointed at our little river town gleaming with renewed interest.


mr tickle said...

But at least your subway looks great.

Sue said...

Uh-oh is right. Stay tuned and thanks for commenting.