At this time, a third 7-Eleven convenience store is NOT coming to Maplewood.
A representative for 7-Eleven confirmed that 7-Eleven is "not proceeding at this time to move forward" with a new store at Parker Avenue and Valley Street because "the Town has not given the property owners the conditions that 7-Eleven required" — that is, approval to operate 24 hours a day.
However, the property owner for the site, Ali Enterprises, could move forward with another convenience store vendor. Zoning Board Chair Larry Seltzer said that the variance was not "specifically for a 7-Eleven. It’s for a convenience store."
allowing for a second use on the 18,000-square-foot lot that already has an operating Shell Station. The proposal to add an 1,800-square-foot convenience store at the location has been unpopular with some neighbors and community members who cite safety concerns at the congested corner which is across the street from Columbia High School.
At the May 16, ZBA member Deanne Wilson Landress finalized the details of the store’s hours, saying if Ali Enterprises did not agree to hold the same hours of operation as the gas station, that could be a dealbreaker. Louis Rago, the applicant's attorney, agreed to the terms and the variance was granted based on operational hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Arguments by the applicant that both the service station and the convenience store are allowed by the current neighborhood business zoning for the lot ultimately won over the ZBA. Another part of that argument was the fact that Maplewood code requires a 10,000-square-foot lot for service stations and a 5,000-square-foot lot for convenience stores. At 18,000 square feet, the current lot location would be more than adequate for both uses if it were subdivided.
Patch has reached out to Ali Enterprises attorney to see what next steps the property owners might take. We will report back as soon as we hear from Ali Enterprises.
When reached for comment, Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca wrote, "I do not think a convenience store/gas station on that site is appropriate economic development. For whatever reason, I think it is good that 7-Eleven decided not to proceed."
Area neighbors were happy with the news.
"As the co-author of the online petition to 7-Eleven," wrote Maplewood resident Rick Wessler to Patch, "I'd like to believe that strong community involvement played some part in the 7-Eleven decision. I and my neighbors in the area want to thank Mayor DeLuca, the SOMA School Board and the residents of both towns for their support in opposing this proposal. However, given the anticipated final approval of the site plan by the Zoning Board on Monday night, the possibility of another franchisee for that site is still problematic. We will continue to oppose any proposed convenience store addition to this site, while working to enliven the existing small business district there since it has great potential."
Maplewood's first last summer. Another . Both can operate 24 hours a day.