A group of residents vowing to fight the relocation of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop to Main Street on Oct. 22 filed a formal appeal of the Planning Board’s decision. The appeal falls within the 30-day period allowed by the Planning Board for aggrieved parties to file.

The new Main Street location calls for a 2,064-square-foot building with a two-lane drive-thru and 18 parking spaces. A 29-foot-wide entrance would be located on Vickery Lane, a small residential street that would need to be widened to accommodate the traffic flow. The estimated cost for the proposed project is $1.5 million.

Dunkin’ Donuts is currently located at the Depot Country Store on Depot Street. The new proposed location between Nason Drive and Vickery Lane in the historic downtown area has some residents questioning how this project will “preserve Unity’s rural character,” as prescribed in the town’s Land Use Ordinance.

Kristin Mozes, a backyard neighbor to the proposed project and lead organizer of the opposition, said the group has hired an attorney and feels “really confident” about the appeal.

In a letter addressed to the Board of Appeals, Peter W. Drum, attorney for Mozes and property owner Elizabeth Dyer, said the Unity Planning Board committed multiple violations of Maine law by disregarding several requirements of the town ordinance and by failing to provide a “written finding of facts and conclusion of law,” as required by the Unity’s Land Use Ordinance.

The project being proposed is in a special Village District Overlay area, he said. The board failed to specifically apply the requirements of the village overlay in reviewing the adherence of the project to zoning requirements.

“The board made the zone fit the project, rather than making the project fit the zone,” Drum said. He also drew attention to the original public hearing notice issued by the town, which, contrary to the ordinance, was only posted in one newspaper and did not include where the project was to be located.

At the last selectmen’s meeting Oct. 20, Mozes submitted a petition with 60 signatures from residents who felt they did not have enough notice about the project and requested an extension of the comment period.

At the meeting, Mozes said selectmen were “dismissive” of their effort, and of the law she claims the town has violated.

“It’s up to them if they take it seriously or not,” Mozes said.

The board said it would meet and announce its decision at the next selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Unity Community Center.

Previously, Board of Selectmen Chairman Penny Sampson said the Planning Board had already made its decision and any aggrieved party had 30 days from the time of board approval to file an appeal.

The project, she said, would remove a blighted property from Main Street, and she felt it would make the street look better. It would also help decrease traffic on Depot Street, where the doughnut shop is currently located.

“From a business standpoint,” she said, “it makes sense (to move to Main Street).

In a conversation with The Republican Journal Oct. 22, town attorney Kristin Collins of Preti Flaherty said the petition she received “did not require any action to be taken.” Further, she said the Planning Board has the ability to revisit its decision if it feels it goes against a town ordinance.

According to Mozes, the Appeals Board now has 10 days in which to schedule a hearing to address the issue. “They are obligated to uphold the law,” she said.