Not everyone’s thanking heaven for 7-11.
Despite protests from residents, the Westminster City Council last Wednesday approved the city’s ninth 7-11. The new store will replace Sterling Liquor Market at Heil Avenue and Newland Street.
The problem, neighbors say, is not 7-11 itself, but its 24-hour operation, which will bring more late-night noise and traffic to an already busy intersection.
“A 24-hour store is only going to add to the problems we already have,” said Janet D’Angelis. “We’re a small neighborhood and we don’t need more congestion.”
To combat some of the late-night noise and traffic, the Planning Commission added a condition that limits deliveries to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The commission approved the store on June 20.
Otherwise, traffic and parking shouldn’t be a major issue because the other businesses are closed at night, said Art Bashmakian, planning manager.
D’Angelis and her daughter Leanna D’Angelis appealed the commission’s decision and collected over 50 signatures from neighbors. Their house shares a three-foot high wall with the small shopping center.
“We get a lot of people loitering on our wall,” Leanna said. “They often smoke, drink, eat and leave trash in our flowerbed.”
A 24-hour store could turn the area into a 24-hour hangout, Leanna fears.
To help decrease loitering, 7-11 will be required to post anti-loitering signs and to call the police if any disturbances occur. 7-11 stores are routinely equipped with 24-hour security cameras.
Though the council voted unanimously to approve the store, the vote was not without discussion. The question was how to balance residential concerns with economic development.
“It’s always challenging to pick a side on something like this,” said Councilmember Tyler Diep.
“Times are tough right now and we ought to do what we can to help business owners within our city limits.”
For Councilmember Andy Quach, it helps that it’s not just any business, but one familiar to the city.
“7-11 has a proven track record and has policies to work with the city and the community,” he said. “They will not risk the city taking their permit away.”
Quach has previously worked with 7-11 on opening other stores. Neighbors also protested the opening of the store at Edwards Street and Westminster Boulevard but since it opened there have been no complaints, he said.
Residents should always contact the city if problems occur, Quach said.