Where New York is the city that never sleeps, Springfield Avenue may soon be known as the business improvement district that gets at least a solid four hours of shut-eye a night.
Maplewood’s Township Committee is considering banning new 24-hour businesses from opening on the Avenue. The proposal, a discussion item for their June 2 meeting, dictates that aside from the two existing 24-hour businesses, business on Springfield Avenue would go dark between 2 (the latest a bar or restaurant could be open; no Springfield Avenue restaurants stay open that late and there hasn’t been on a bar on Maplewood’s section of the avenue in years) and 6 am, when convenience stores and gas stations open.
Beth Anne Macdonald, Executive Director of the Springfield Avenue Partnership, said the ban wouldn’t have too much impact. Currently, no one is clamoring to open a 24 hour business on Springfield Avenue—Walgreens is interested in building a new store across the street from the police station, but it would not be a 24-hour store.
“I haven’t gotten any phone calls on it,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald said the ban likely reflected the outcry that accompanied the proposal earlier this year to build a 7-11 on Springfield Avenue. At public meetings considering the store, a number of people expressed concerns about the store's hours.
“I think when the Township Committee looks at revisiting some of the town’s retail regulations, they want to take the residents into consideration,” Macdonald said.
Two Springfield Avenue businesses operate currently 24 hours a day: the Maplewood Diner and the Quick Chek convenience store. From Macdonald’s point of view, two are probably enough to meet demand.
“A 24-hour business in Maplewood is probably overkill,” Macdonald said.
In the past, worries have been expressed that late night businesses attract unwanted elements. The histories of the two standing 24-hour locations do not bear out those worries, Macdonald said.
“There are more perceived issues than there are actual issues,” Macdonald said.
The original version of this story said stores can legally open at 6 am. That is not correct and the text was changed to reflect that. We regret the error.