CORNELIUS – A new doughnut shop is coming to town and, thanks to the approval of the Cornelius commissioners, customers won’t have to get out of their car to buy them.

Commissioners OKed a conditional-use permit during their meeting May 5 to allow a Dunkin’ Donuts to open with a drive-thru. The store is part of a multi-tenant retail shopping center to be located at 19116 W. Catawba Ave., near Nantz Road. The development is at the current site of a carwash.

Randy Smith with Landmark Development, which is leading the project, said he hopes to start construction in the summer with a fall opening. Dunkin’ Donuts is the one business currently committed for the development, but he said he is in talks with two other companies that could fill the space.

Drive-thrus aren’t allowed without special permits in designated areas, including the Village Center zoning where it is planned. Since approved, the drive-thru will be located at the back of the building, out of sight, as stipulated by town rules. The plans include ways to line cars so they don’t encroach on traffic patterns.

“It’s not going to be Chick-fil-A volume, but there is certainly going to have volume,” said Planning Director Wayne Herron when describing the design.

As part of the conditions, the company will have to deed the town 30 feet of right of way to allow for the planned West Catawba widening. Landmark must also add a turn lane off West Catawba into the business, plus provide a payment in lieu to build a multiuse path and provide landscaping once the widening is completed.

Commissioners approved the permit unanimously, only jokingly lamenting that there weren’t doughnuts at the meeting to sweeten the deal.

Smith has led projects that opened Dunkin’ Donuts shops in Mooresville, Huntersville and Mint Hill, among others. He said that he thinks the area will do well for the store and the other new businesses, especially if nearby proposed construction plans go through.

“I think the area will change for the better,” he said.