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Plans for Dunkin’ Donuts in Jonesborough move forward

Town leaders received just one proposal for an acre of land adjacent to Town Hall, a proposal that will bring donuts and coffee to Jonesborough’s main intersection.
Owners of Mountain Empire Oil submitted a request to purchase the town-owned land in order to completely tear down its existing Shell gas station at the intersection of Boone Street and Highway 11E and rebuild the convenience center.
“The store will include a Dunkin’ Donuts, which may not be great news for the local Weight Watchers Club,” joked Mayor Kelly Wolfe. “Nonetheless, there’s going to be some people happy about this.”
Members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are among those happy people, seeing the proposal as a way to improve the appearance of the gateway into town.
“We should see major enhancements to the aesthetics of that intersection,” Wolfe said, pointing out the new store will be required to follow strict landscaping and appearance guidelines.
Gas canopies at the store would be moved to the rear of the site so they were not seen by motorists at the intersection. More landscaping also would be included on the site.
With the proposal approved in concept, the next step is to establish a purchase price through an appraisal.
That purchase price will then have to come back to the BMA for approval.
“To me, this is valuable commercial property,” said Alderman Chuck Vest. “Hopefully, the appraisal comes back at a good price.”
Mountain Empire Oil projects the Dunkin’ Donuts store will provide an additional $26,000 a year in sales tax for the town and county while the gas station will provide an additional $3,500 in tax revenue.
According to the proposal, Mountain Empire Oil is looking to begin construction work during the first quarter of 2013 with a turnaround time of just 120 days.
In approving the possible land sale, leaders also looked into the remaining vacant town-owned land located there for possible expansion of both the town’s police and fire departments.
The future expansion would include two new fire bays as well as new living quarters for the fire department.
The police department would stand to double its office and storage space.
The expansion of town departments may also leave room for a Washington County EMS ambulance to be stationed there. Currently, an EMS rescue squad truck is located in Jonesborough, but not an ambulance.
“We’ve had $65,000 sitting in an account someone left the local rescue squad a good number of years ago,” Wolfe said. “We’ve been unable to identify a project we deemed worthy for use of these funds. Now, we potentially have the ability to have an ambulance located within the town.”
According to Wolfe, leaders with the Washington County/Johnson City EMS have “expressed their desire to potentially talk about this in the future.”