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Arby's earns Rockland Planning Commission nod

By Anthony Ronzio | Mar 24, 2005

Rockland — Plans proposing an Arby's restaurant for Camden Street in Rockland are alive again, after the city's Planning Commission gave tacit approval on Tuesday for a 2,800-square-foot building for the fast-food chain.

Richard and Sherry Thacker of Brunswick, the owners of the proposed Rockland Arby's franchise, have sought to open a store at 182 Camden St. for the last several years.

Erik Laustsen, chairman of the Planning Commission, said the board agreed Tuesday on the Thackers' latest building design for the restaurant.

Debate between the city, the Thackers and Arby's corporate headquarters over an appropriate roof for the restaurant had slowed the application's review.

Laustsen said a board "straw vote" was 5 to 0 in favor of the design. "They made some compromises with their design and had it approved by headquarters," he said. "We all felt comfortable with it."

A final vote on Arby's will take place next month.

Arby's had initially proposed a flat roof for the store, which was approved by the city in 2000. During this latest review, that design was rejected by the Planning Commission, which favored a pitched roof.

The design approved Tuesday has a flat roof, but one fronted by the appearance of a pitched roof.

The Thackers had initially come before the city in the late 1990s, Laustsen said, with a proposal to open an Arby's near the now-closed Bonanza steakhouse at the Rockland-Rockport line.

In 2000, their plans shifted to the empty lot at 182 Camden St., and the Planning Commission approved their restaurant on June 6, 2000. Nothing happened on the site for two years.

The Thackers renewed their plan for one year in June 2002, but it lapsed one year later, leading to their new review with the city. Since the Thackers first proposed an Arby's, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, Staples and Wendy's have opened along Camden Street.

Construction of the 2,800-square-foot restaurant is estimated to cost $800,000 and take approximately three months, according to paperwork filed with the city.
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