boooogers

Plans for a new Burger King restaurant in Bennington are now before the Act 250 Commission for a project review. The proposed site is near the entrance to the Walmart-Price Chopper center off Northside Drive.

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BENNINGTON — Burger King fans are a step closer to the return of charbroiled patties.

Plans have been filed with the Act 250 Commission for a new Bennington restaurant.

Developers of the proposed eatery — at the entrance to Monument Plaza off Northside Drive — received plan approval from the town Development Review Board back in January 2021, but no further steps were announced for months, prompting some to question whether the project would move forward.

The longtime Burger King restaurant off Kocher Drive closed in September 2020 after 40 years at that location. At the time, employees said they were told a new Bennington site was being considered.

The closed restaurant was one of more than 200 Burger Kings reportedly deemed as underperforming in 2020 and slated for closure by the national chain.

ACT 250 PLANS

The District 8 Environmental Commission is now reviewing an Act 250 application for the project, according to a May 12 notice.

“No hearing will be held, and a permit may be issued unless, on or before June 6, 2022, a person notifies the commission of an issue or issues requiring the presentation of evidence at a hearing, or the commission sets the matter for a hearing on its own motion,” according to the notice posted by district coordinator Kim Lutchko.

The permit application was filed in late April by the property owner, BLS Bennington Outlot LLC, and BLS Bennington, and the developer, Carrols Corporation of Syracuse, N.Y.

The proposal is described as “the construction and operation of a 3,200-square-foot quick-service 61-seat restaurant (Burger King) with a drive-thru along with new parking, lighting and landscaping. The project also includes constructing a sidewalk to connect to an existing bus stop.”

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The plan as reviewed by the town included a newer, more subdued color scheme, instead of the bright orange, tan and red scheme of the older Burger King restaurants.

WAS GUN SHOP SITE

The parcel is listed as 216 Northside Drive, and it was acquired in December 2012 by BLS Bennington Outlot for $593,000 from Charles and Janet Wells, according to town property records.

The Wells operated a gun shop and gas station at the site for many years, before selling to the shopping center owners. The gas station and shop have since been razed.

Plans reviewed by the DRB last year showed that the 216 Northside Drive parcel will be expanded into the current shopping center parking area to encompass .83 acres — up from the current .53 acres.

Officials with the Carrols Restaurant Group, based in Syracuse, N.Y., could not be reached Friday for comment.

The most recent significant change at the plaza site was demolition of a 51,000-square-foot Walmart and construction of the 112,000-square-foot store, which opened in 2016.

The first Bennington Burger King restaurant opened in September 1980, according to Banner files, becoming the 3,016th Burger King in the nation at that time. The business operated seven days a week upon opening and employed about 80 people.

An employee said after the closure that many area residents turned out toward the end to voice support for the workers and for the BK brand and “really showed it over the last two days.”

Anyone seeking more information at the Act 250 process should contact Lutchko at 802-786-5099 or via email at Kim.Lutchko@vermont.gov

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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