Dunkin Donuts may share space with Big Apple Pizza

OKEECHOBEE — Donuts and pizza may soon be purchased in the same building.

At their Jan. 19 meeting, the Okeechobee City council approved a request to add Big Apple Pizza to the Dunkin Donuts building.

They also approved a parking adjustment to accommodate the additional customers.

Engineer Steve Dobbs said there is more than ample parking on this site. They would use 17 parking spaces on the adjacent street.

He noted a majority of the business at the Dunkin Donuts comes through the drive thru window.

The Big Apple Pizza restaurant, popular on the Treasure Coast, would not open until 11 a.m. daily.

City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca said he thinks there is a drive-thru issue from 6:30 a.m. in the morning until after noon.

Councilman Dowling Watford said he doesn’t have a problem with the concept of the two businesses in one building.

“We do have an issue with the drive thru. It is not affecting just your business but other businesses around you. We want you to be extremely successful, but when it affects your neighbor that’s a real issue,” he said.

He said the city is concerned about traffic backing out on to the street and street blockage. He said he was pleased that the applicant is trying to address the problem.

“I really appreciate you are making strides to improve that and I hope it’s successful. It has to be successful because we have to have a solution there,” he said.

“We are going to take heat for the drive thru,” Councilman Watford said. “I hope we don’t end up with an unpleasant meeting or conversation over the drive thru.”

Council member Gary Ritter said the customers determine how long the lines are at the take-out window.

“I am constantly behind someone in line that takes longer than 25 seconds to decide what they want to eat,” he noted.

The applicant also plans to stress take out pizzas with little space in restaurant dining area available. Pizza will not be sold through the drive-thru window.

The council approved an ordinance that amends the city land development regulations. It includes a definition of a youth center which would be allowed as a special exception in the residential multi-family district. A recovery center or sober home which is used by addicts recovering from substance abuse would also be allowed by special exception in residential multi-family and commercial light zoning districts. The center is defined as a facility, used by addicts, who are recovering from substance abuse, and which serves as an interim environment between rehabilitation and a return to their former lives.

The amendments also included allowance of convenience stores as permitted uses in commercial light and commercial heavy zoning districts. The indoor auction house would be a permitted use in the commercial heavy district.

The amendments also allow alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers or detox centers as special exceptions in commercial light and commercial heavy zoning districts. The rehab center is defined as a facility that provides an active rehabilitation treatment program run throughout the day, where the residents receive intensive individual and group counseling for their substance abuse. Residents typically stay for one to six months.

Convenience stores that have fuel pumps would also be allowed as a special exception in the heavy commercial zoning district.

The council also proclaimed the week of Jan. 24-29 as “Children’s Week” in Okeechobee.

Councilman Mike O’Connor suffered a stroke and was assisted by a trauma hawk helicopter on Jan. 12. He wrote a letter to the city to thank the first responders who assisted him. He mentioned in the letter, Lt. Glen Hodges, and Firefighters Mike Skipper and JR Wooten. He also thanked Okeechobee County Fire Rescue crews for their assistance that day.

The council also applied for a $1,791 grant for a crime scene camera through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

The council appointed members to an employee grievance committee for two-year terms through Jan. 31, 2018. Phil Conroy and Adam Crum were appointed for the fire department, Cody Rodriguez and Marvin Roberts for Public Works, Melissa Henry and Kim Barnes for Finance, Robin Brock and Jackie Dunham for Administration and Jack Boon and Danny Green for the Police Department.

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