But will Ben Affleck be manning the cash register?

Baltimore’s Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals approved plans Tuesday to build a drive-thru Dunkin’ on Falls Road in Roland Park, despite opposition from some community members, including the principal of a nearby high school.

The 1,600-square-foot eatery will take the place of a former auto repair shop near the intersection of Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane. It will be a new location for the Dunkin’ that currently operates at a strip mall next door.

Drew Tildon, an attorney for the business owners, said they commissioned a traffic study that demonstrated that the planned drive-thru model would actually reduce congestion on Falls Road.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Civil engineer Valek Zarski of the Baltimore Land Design Group said the layout of the planned eatery will offer plenty of space for vehicles. “There’s no way that cars will be standing on Falls Road,” he said, adding that it would not become a “destination” for consumers, but rather draw people who were already passing through the area anyway.

But not everyone was convinced. At the zoning hearing, Mark Sawyer, the principal of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, which is across the street from the planned Dunkin’ branch, said he thought the eatery would worsen pedestrian safety as well as congestion, which has already increased since the pandemic.

“We have had multiple accidents with our students having been hit crossing Falls Road,” he said. While city planners have taken steps to improve pedestrian safety by adding an “island” on Falls Road just north of the intersection with Cold Spring, he said, the drive-thru “is going in the wrong direction.”

He added that the current eatery is also a draw for students who sometimes eat there during school hours, though Dunkin’ staff are supposed to ask them to leave. But Tildon said the new operation will feature minimal seating for customers — and won’t have a public restroom, making students less likely to loiter on premises.

Abhi Sheth, who operates the Dunkin’ branch at its current location with his family, said the new spot should open in February or March of next year. The Sheths also operate several other Dunkin’s in the area, including a drive-thru Dunkin’ at Reisterstown Station.

Christina Tkacik is the food reporter for The Baltimore Banner.

More From The Banner