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LA MESA -- A proposal to open a 7Eleven convenience store is meeting with opposition in another La Mesa neighborhood.
Neighbors in the area around Dallas and Lake Murray Boulevard are organizing to oppose 7Eleven's application for a transfer of liquor license. Notice of the application was posted in the window of a vacant store located in a strip center near Dallas and Lake Murray.
"We just feel like we have enough alcohol for sale in this neighborhood,'' said Ted Crisosto, who lives near the proposed 7Eleven. "There are residential houses right next door to this place and you know how 24-hour places are. They attract vagrants and they get robbed.''
Crisosto said neighbors are well aware that many store fronts in the nearby Big Lots strip center and they'd love to see a new store move in, but not one that intends to bring all-night retail to an area that immediately abuts a residential neighborhood.
"We're going to complain to the Alcohol & Beverage Control and we're going to the City Council," Crisosto said.
There is a full liquor store and another cocktail lounge just a few hundred feet from the back door of the storefront that would house the 7Eleven.
The state ABC board might be the best hope for these neighbors. Bill Chopyk, who heads the City of La Mesa's Community Development group, said the zoning at the Lake Murray and Dallas site allows for a convenience store use so no major Planning Commission or City Council review of such a use would be necessary for the property owner. The city has limited control of a use that is permitted "by right" under the zoning laws without facing litigation from the property owner.
A similar dispute broke out when 7Eleven applied to relocate from a location on Palm Avenue to a more visible location not far away on Spring Street. Neighbors opposed that move citing similar concerns about the clientele the store attracts, including frequent late-night robberies that occurred several times at the Palm Avenue location.
The Spring Street project also is permitted under the current zoning laws, though that project includes reconsruction of the structure and will go through other city building processes.