If Frank L. Dimick can get final business plan approvals by mid-June, he hopes to be able to sell Popeyes chicken and Cajun rice in Westminster by September.
At its meeting last night, the city planning commission approved Mr. Dimick's long-delayed proposal to open a local Popeyes franchise. The fast-food establishment would be in the former Vermont Federal Savings and Loan building at Routes 140 and 97 south.
Mr. Dimick said he has spent nearly a year in negotiations with representatives of adjoining Weis Markets to get an entrance to the former savings and loan building reopened. The entrance was barricaded after the Vermont Federal office closed several years ago and Resolution Trust Corp. took over the property.
The reopening of the building would not bring a return of the computerized sign that alerted Route 140 drivers to community events ranging from high school class reunions to festivals.
"I would have liked to have used that for community events, but their [Westminster's] ordinance doesn't allow it," Mr. Dimick said.
City Clerk John D. Dudderar said the moving-message signs "are very dangerous" and can lead to traffic accidents. He said the savings and loan was outside the city limits when the sign was installed.
Mr. Dimick plans to seek a variance from landscape ordinance requirements that require him to plant trees in islands in the parking lot. He said the site is so tight that tractor-trailers making deliveries would have to back over the islands.
The franchise owner agreed to a right-turn entrance from westbound Route 140. To return to Route 140, drivers would have to pull up to the traffic signal at Route 97.
Mr. Dimick also plans to submit proposed signs for the franchise for planning commission approval.
The commission approved plans last night for an office complex at the county air business center planned by Larry Piper, former owner of Basically Computers Inc. Plans call for the complex to eventually include six buildings on a site off Business Parkway South.