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Proposed Panera Bread Draws Concerns from Waltham Residents, Councilors

Panera Bread is proposing a second location in Waltham.

Waltham City Councilors expressed several preliminary concerns about the proposed second location of Panera Bread during a public hearing on Monday, June 25.

Panera Bread is seeking to open a store at 1030 Main St., where and would also be located. They already have a store

Specifically, Panera and Waltham Ventures LLC, the site’s owner, are seeking a permit top operate a fast food restaurant, a separate permit for a drive-thru and an amendment to a prior permit allowing a drive-thru. 

The concerns surround adequate parking and the smell that would emanate from the site.

SITE SPECIFICATIONS

  • The store would be 4,200 square feet and would have a main entry across from Prospect Hill Road, according to Panera’s attorney Joseph Connors. There would be a separate truck entry from Main Street into the back of the building. It would exit onto Weston Street as a right turn only, according to Connors.
  • There would be 86 seats inside and about 32 seasonal seats outside, according to Connors.
  • The hours would be Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • The store would hire about 50 employees, according to Panera Bread District Manager Scott Hauber said.
  • There would also be an eight-foot fence and landscaping surrounding the site to provide a visual barrier to abutters, according to Connors. It would also block excess noise, he said.
  • Hauber said a second location was necessary “because one this side of town you don’t have a Panera.”

CONCERNS

  • PARKING: City Councilor Joe Vizard said he was concerned the site lacked adequate parking because customers of Panera tend to linger in the store for a while. “I don’t think people are moving that quickly through Panera Bread,” he said.
  • DRIVE-THRU: Waltham resident Jennifer Patton started a petition against the drive-thru provision saying it would negatively impact traffic and the environment. She said she had received 79 signatures. “It adds an unnecessary burden to an already congested traffic area and to air pollution,” she said.
  • Vizard also said the drive-thru line would get backed up while customers were waiting for their food to be cooked.
  • Hauber responded saying the store would have a dedicated drive-thru crew and would work to make it as efficient as possible. Panera has about 100 drive-thru locations nationwide, an indication of the amount of experience the company has in operating them, according to Hauber.
  • ODOR: City Councilor Robert Logan said he was worried the odor of bread would bother residents who would have to tolerate it each day. A project official told the council it would be possible to install a device to temper the smell, but that it is not typically done unless requested.

 

Dee Keough June 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Councillor Logan, are you serious? The smell of baking bread would bother residents who have to tolerate it every day? I haven't heard of anyone in north Waltham complaining. Plus years ago it was a common smell with all the bakeries Waltham had. I would think you have other things to worry about that's happening in Waltham than the possible smell of baking bread!!!!!
moog June 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM
ever go by Burger King? No one complians about smelling that even in the AM.
Jen P June 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Please note that the site would have essentially 24 hour use as the baking of bread is done all night/early morning until the restaurant opens again for breakfast. I wonder if increased police patrols would therefore be required?
Jen P June 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM
There is an entrance on the Weston St. side. It is correct that the exit is right turn only.
PupDawg June 26, 2012 at 02:15 PM
"Waltham resident Jennifer Patton started a petition"....Where can residents sign the petition?
Jen P June 26, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Petition site online: http://ow.ly/bPLXf
PupDawg June 26, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Signed, thank you Jen P. for trying to preserve our neighborhood!
Michael June 26, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Robert Logan why don't you do anything in your ward. You are possibly the worst in the city. What about the smells from Moody st., you never seem to worry about that
Don Michael Donahue June 26, 2012 at 09:02 PM
The smell of freshly baked bread bothers Waltham residents? Are u serious? Did u take ur meds today? Councilor Logan, LET them SMELL CAKE!
Don Michael Donahue June 26, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Preserve ur neighborhood for what? Ole farts, living in the horse and buggy days?
PupDawg June 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Don - Preserve our neighborhood from additional traffic, pollution and trash. The traffic turning on to Weston from South every morning is already horrible to get to Route 128 - typically you have to sit through more than one cycle of the traffic light to gt through the intersection. Dealing with morning Panera traffic in that area will increase the morning commute for anyone traveling through. You can bet a sign will go up on 128 advertising these new restaurants which will increase the traffic coming off 128 into Waltham as well. Although I live dozens of blocks from any of the current Main Street fast food restaurants, my dogs continually find countless pieces of left over garbage along our daily walks that are simply tossed on the street. When I start finding 5 Guys, Panera and Chipotle garbage in my neighborhood I will put it in my horse and buggy and drive it over to your yard. For me it has nothing to do with the smell of baking bread.
Don Michael Donahue June 27, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Sorry Tracey! U really want to know what Traffic is?.. move to LA!.... It's 2012 and new businesses are needed in Waltham..There is nothing permanent except change!.. and if ur still not convinced, I have several lots in upstate ME, no restaurants, no traffic no Moody or Main Streets!... ur dog will be PO'd though... No Burger King leftovers! :)
Tim Hill June 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Jen P, out of curiosity, what type of business would you support going in that location?
Jen P June 27, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I am okay with Panera in this location. My only request is no drive-thru. It will add unnecessary congestion and pollution.
Lydia Magill November 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
You know, I can spend more time in iParty than I can in Panera. Would love to have a Panera on this side of Waltham. However, I do think that a drive through is not warranted. How about putting in 3 - 4 parking spaces for pick up only?
Pats December 13, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I, for one, would love a drive thru at Panera. The convenience with little kids - who often are napping in the car - is unmatched. It will actually shorten the time spent at the restaurant. And, Jen, I don't buy that the drive thru will increase traffic much at all over the basic existence of a Panera. Folks will already be driving by and this becomes a convenience stop. Panera is rarely a destination where you dramatically change your traffic patter to go there. You just go. Walk-in or drive thru, no real difference.
Pats December 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Please, get this restaurant permitted and open!!! With a drive-thru!!!
Ninette February 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM
What is the Holdup with the Panera and the Five Guys at the beautiful new Marketplace. I have just been told that the Five Guys has backed out. This is such a waste of space. Doesn't the city think about the jobs and business this will bring to the community. Not to mention the convenience and enjoyment the people would have from this location. To listen to the few who are complaining and denying the many who would frequent these establishments is an antiquated notion. Bring more to the locals and they will keep their money local.
Cairo kid February 19, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Ninette: THANKS! But antiquated thinking like Counc Logan, and his Civil War attitudes are holding up more than the 'Marketplace'...the only new businesses they want to approve are banks!....guess the smell of money is preferred rather than fresh bread!
GrampaJoe February 19, 2013 at 07:06 PM
50 jobs is what Panera will create. So traffic which is already pretty bad will get a little worse? Someone smells bread cooking? Not enough parking? Three very lame excuses. The developer built this complex with the promise it would be allowed to occupy it, and now the council wants to "hold" it up?
Pats February 19, 2013 at 07:40 PM
We need jobs. We need food options. We need our city council to work for the majority. We need a drive thru. We need to be residents in a Waltham ready for 2013 and beyond. Let Panera in. Let 5 Guys in. Let Chipotle in. Then let all of us nearby who choose to frequent these places improve the quality of our lives.
Jen P February 20, 2013 at 05:24 PM
The drive-thru issue is dead. Last I heard, the landlord/developer has to address a few issues (differences in construction vs the approved design) and then all's good to go.
Cairo kid February 20, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Jen: Good to go? for whom, YOU? Why is the drive-thru issue dead? Are u one of the citizens that have problems with freshly baked odors in the morning?
Jen P February 20, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The drive-thru was voted down in committee. The developer has already put in a grassy area where it was to be sited. Thus, dead. Anyone who has driven by in the past 4 months or so saw that.

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