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On the Record

The Daily Record's law news blog

Appeals court finds no holes in Mass. zoning board’s logic

On the heels of the great “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate (Answer: I don’t know, but please pass the relish) comes another query to ponder: Is Dunkin’ Donuts a restaurant or retail store?

Officials in Hopkinton, Mass., went with “retail store” in permitting the franchise to open a location in the town’s rural business zoning district. Restaurants in the district are where “all customers are seated and where no live commercial entertainment is offered,” according to our sister paper, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

An adjacent property owner challenged the decision. A judge reversed the zoning decision, ruling the “proposed use is actually a ‘restaurant’ where all customers will not be seated,” according to MALW.

But an Appeals Court reversed, finding “retail store” was an appropriate designation:

“Its primary business is the sale of food and drink items ‘to go.’ Seating is available as a convenience for some customers but, so far as the record reflects, it does not separately contribute to profits,” the court found.

The judges also added, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm donuts.”


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