LEWISTON — The neighborhood likes Dunkin’ Donuts, but it loves its parking more.

During a City Council workshop Tuesday, it became clear that residents of the neighborhood near Main and Elm streets are largely opposed to a new Dunkin’ Donuts at 420 Main St., but only because it could strip away parking along the street that they say would hurt nearby businesses.

Normand Boulay, who owns the Dunkin’ Donuts at 319 Main St., asked the council Tuesday for feedback on his proposal that would relocate the business to a vacant lot at Main and Whipple streets. The business would also be one of the chain’s “next generation” stores, with two drive-thru lanes, one for mobile orders.

In the plan outlined Tuesday, Boulay said the new location would eliminate 12 on-street parking spaces from Main Street, but would be replaced by roughly 11 spaces on Whipple Street. It would require council action to remove the parking.

However, a number of neighbors, including small business owners, said on-street parking is already at a premium in the neighborhood and that the replacement parking would not benefit them or their customers.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is asking small-scale businesses and historic homes to give away their parking,” said Chris Aceto, a Lewiston landlord who lives and owns multiple apartment units nearby.

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He said his tenants, instead of parking in front of his building like they do now, will be forced to park on nearby side streets or cross Main Street in an area that is already considered dangerous for pedestrians.

Others, such as Kathleen Kienitz at 443 Main St., said the decision could ultimately impact her bottom line. She said her office serves elderly clients, and the proposed replacement parking on Whipple Street “is ridiculous” given its slope and position across Main Street.

“I won’t be able to fill tenancy’s in my office,” she said, adding that removing the parking would be “doing it to the benefit of one business (Dunkin’) that is already nicely situated.”

Boulay said the new Dunkin’ Donuts design will not work at the current location, which has had its share of issues related to traffic and deliveries.

While neighbors weren’t receptive, members of the council were open to removing the parking, but reminded everyone that it’s still early in the process.

At least two councilors said removing on-street parking from Main Street is a long-term safety issue and should be considered moving forward.

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“As long as alternative parking can be found in the neighborhood, I’m OK with it,” Councilor Michael Marcotte said.

“I would like to see this move forward, it’s a better design for Main Street,” said Councilor Zack Pettengill.

Mayor Shane Bouchard urged Boulay to work closely with the neighbors to arrive at a solution. He said removing the parking is “something we need to approach cautiously” and that he’s “never in favor of eliminating parking.”

“Parking increases marketability,” he said.

Aceto said he believes his tenants would not use the parking on Whipple Street, and instead would further clog Main Street spaces, taking away turnover parking for Main Street businesses.

Boulay suggested the council could look into turning Main Street parking to two-hour limited parking.

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“We’re trying to come up with a solution,” he said, adding that he would be willing to pay for a new crosswalk on Main Street near the development. “I understand the concerns, hopefully we can work through them.”

The full building design for the new Dunkin’ Donuts still needs to be vetted by the Planning Board.

Tim Kelly, a pastor at Lewiston Baptist Church at 437 Main St., echoed what nearly every other neighbor said.

“Everyone loves Dunkin’ Donuts, that’s not the issue,” he said. “But there has to be a better place.”

He also said he hoped the city would listen.

“We’re the little people, and often times we get pushed out,” he said.

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