The owners of an Echo Park 7-Eleven have been selling alcoholic beverages without the necessary city permission for several years after they forgot to renew a permit that expired in 2010.
“This one fell through the cracks,” a lawyer representing the convenience store chain told the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee earlier this week.
The store at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue is now in the process of renewing the conditional use permit that allows it to sell alcoholic beverages. The city-issued permits are granted to allow specific uses if the applicant agrees to conditions – such as limiting business hours, arranging for valet parking, hiring security guards – to minimize the impact on neighbors. But, as in this case, some permits are neither renewed or enforced.
In theory, the store was not supposed to have sold alcohol after the permit expired, according to one City Hall official. “The city is now focused on bringing the outlet into compliance,” said the official who requested to remain anonymous.
The store’s current effort to get the permit renewed was supported by the neighborhood land use committee because the store had benefited the community, according to members. Several committee members and area residents testified to the store’s compliance with the regulations after the permit expired.
Board member Sue Reimers lauded the local franchise for placing wanted signs for local criminals in their windows and letting police officers use their bathrooms. “7-Eleven has been a stellar neighbor,” she said.
Board member Gustav Moreno choose to abstain from the vote while the other three committee members recommended that the full neighborhood council support the measure without conditions.
During the debate Moreno noticed that the original permit allowed for the sale of alcoholic beverages between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. but the renewal application extended the time by an hour to midnight. Moreno was concerned the extra hour would lead to late night beer runs.
The lawyer representing the corporation disagreed and claimed the change in hours occurred when the city altered hours for liquor sales.
The conditional still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Planning Department.
Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.