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An inconvenient store

Submitted by on 1, September 9, 2009 – 5:50 amNo Comment

On Thursday night, the Planning Board will mull a use permit for a new convenience store at 1623 Park Street, north of Lincoln.

Planning staff is recommending approval of the store, which would go into a building they say has been vacant for several years. The staff report supporting the application says the new store would improve the appearance of the area, which lost the last of its car dealerships in the last year, and that it would bring additional foot traffic.

Neighbors are opposing the store because it will specialize in cigarettes and tobacco products. They’ve submitted 425 petition letters to oppose the store which say there are already too many of these stores in the area and that it will cause traffic and parking problems. (And a quick pssst! to the folks who signed these letters, which say the information will not be provided to anybody but the Planning Board and elected officials: Almost everything submitted in writing to a public officials or city staffer is public record, and every one of your letters is posted on the city’s website.)

Sue Lau, whose parents have owned the building since 1999, wrote the city to ask that they support the store. She said it has hosted several failed businesses and that a coffee shop her parents had hoped to see go there was unable to get a use permit. Lau said the space has been vacant for half the time her parents have owned it.

“Mr. Harbi’s business will generate more foot traffic in what once was a quiet corner for homeless people,” Lau wrote the city.

The city’s rules require a use permit for convenience stores that operate within 300 feet of residences.

The other item on the Planning Board’s agenda is a set of changes to clarify and streamline the city’s design review process.

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