The Township Committee showed strong disapproval for all-hours businesses during a discussion item about changing town law to prevent new 24-hour businesses from opening on Springfield Avenue. Citing crime statistics and expressing belief in the character of the township, the Committee members appeared to want to permanently mandate legal business hours for businesses throughout Maplewood.
Mayor Vic De Luca opened the discussion by citing records of criminal activity reports at the 24-hour convenience store on Springfield Ave., Quick Chek. The majority of crimes occurring on the property, De Luca said, happened between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and seemed to peak between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Kathleen Leventhal said she favored preventing new 24-hour businesses from opening anywhere in Maplewood.
“It changes the feel of the town,” Leventhal said.
Committee member Lester Lewis-Powder noted that some 24-hour businesses proposals were met with approval from town residents; in particular, he noted that the idea for an all-hours fitness center at the old police station was considered a “wonderful idea.” Township Attorney Roger Desiderio mentioned 24-hour emergency medical facilities as desirable businesses that require odd hours of operation.
The discussion ended with De Luca asking Desiderio to look into the possibility of requiring township new businesses to close between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses already open 24 hours would be exempt from the rule if it becomes law.