Dunkin' proposal gets cool reception at Pope's Hill

A plan to remodel the Li'l Peach convenience store on Neponset Avenue was met with some resistance from Popes Hill neighbors last week, largely because of a potential facet of that plan to add a Dunkin' Donuts counter and a drive-thru window to the store.

"This is a concept that will be completely unacceptable to the neighborhood for many reasons," said Phil Carver, president of the Popes Hill Neighborhood Association, during an association meeting last week. "A Dunkin' Donuts is not what Dorchester wants and not what Neponset needs. We have enough. If we wanted, we could fall down and get Dunkin' Donuts."

Representatives from Tedeschi Food Shops, the company that owns the Li'l Peach franchise, explained that the plan to renovate the property arose because an on-site tenant, Metro Glass, has closed their store.

Tedeschi spokesman Mike McLaughlin said that the company is considering leveling the Metro Glass building and improving the Li'l Peach store, which may re-open as a Tedeschi Foods. He said the Dunkin' Donuts, with or without a drive-through window, was just an initial concept based on the product's popularity.

"We try to offer our customers what they want," he said, gesturing towards a table to the side of the room full of Dunkin's Box 'o Joes and pastries.

But that is not, seemingly, what Popes Hill neighbors want on Neponset Avenue. The association made a motion to oppose a drive-through on the property, and also opposed a Dunkin Donuts.

Carver said traffic at the store &endash; which he called an "inconvenience store"- was already bad, and suggested that renovations focus on additional parking and beautifying the property.

"Check cashing, CVS, Dunkin' Donuts; I think Dorchester has its fair share," he said.

McLaughlin and Peter Lyons, a lawyer for Tedeschi, said they would relay the association's concerns to corporate management, and that the company was willing to return to a community meeting with one or several new plans. They could not say, they said, how omitting a Dunkin' Donuts might change the character of the overall renovation.

"We want to look at a renovation that makes sense for the proprieter and also provides amenities that the community wants, said Lyons.