Popeyes restaurant approved in town of Dunkirk

Brett Steenburgh, an engineer working on behalf of Liberty Restaurants, as he presents the proposed Popeyes restaurant plans to the Town Board at a recent public hearing.

If you love that chicken from Popeyes, you’re in luck: Popeyes is coming to the Town of Dunkirk.

After a public hearing followed by a brief closed-door meeting to discuss the matter between the Dunkirk Town Board, the plans for a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant were officially approved. Brett Steenburgh, an engineer working on behalf of Liberty Restaurants, stated the applicant’s desire to open the location within the 2023 year or in the first quarter of 2024.

The project is located in front of the Dunkirk Multiplex on Bennett Road, in a Commercial C-2 district. No setback issues or gross size issues needed to be addressed by the planning board.

A negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) was approved unanimously. The approval for the restaurant itself was unanimously approved under the conditions that the planning board’s recommendations are followed.

Steenburgh presented the proposed restaurant plans to the Town Board at a public hearing preceding the regular meeting of the Town Board.

Shown in this photo is a similar Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen location, which the recently approved Dunkirk restaurant will mirror.

Along with the plans for the restaurant included photographs of a similar location in Rochester, which represents the desired appearance of the new Dunkirk location.

“Through the process with the planning board, we all agreed that because of the congestion of traffic in that area … it would be best to eliminate direct access onto Bennett Road,” Steenburgh said. “We ran that by the applicant, they were okay with it … and that allowed us to get a few additional parking spaces.”

The restaurant is required 13 parking spaces in Dunkirk town code, but currently expects 16 parking spaces as designed, with additional shared parking in the back area.

According to a traffic study of the Rochester location, peak traffic is estimated at 31 vehicles in the hours of 4 to 6 p.m.

Steenburgh stated the franchise owner tries to avoid with its designs is pedestrian traffic crossing through drive-through traffic. To avoid that, the drive-through is designed to account for stacking of 20 vehicles.

“It will never back out onto Bennett Road. That was one of the biggest concerns (of the planning process) – vehicles backing out and vehicles not able to pull in,” Steenburgh said. “This is something this applicant feels very strongly about. We’ve been able to get adequate stacking without impacting the neighboring roadways.”

The applicant also addressed concerns with storm water drainage and accepted responsibility for any contaminated soil removed from the site.

The Chautauqua County Planning Department previously stated the project has “no significant countywide or inter-community impact and that the proposal would be a matter of local concern.”

After approval, Steenburgh said, “It was a pleasure working with the Town of Dunkirk.”

Town Supervisor Juan Pagan responded, “Remember, you’re in the town of Dunkirk. If you need anything, let the town of Dunkirk know.”


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