Representatives from 7-Eleven were a no-show at a Mission Valley Planning Group meeting Wednesday (May 3) — for a presentation they had asked to make on a proposed store at Via Las Cumbres and Friars Road, but it didn’t stop the conversation.
7-Eleven has applied for a liquor license to sell beer and wine for the proposed store, to be located on the northeast corner next door to where Mr. Peabody’s used to be; the space was occupied by Rockin' Tanuki. The corner is in the Linda Vista Planning Group boundaries, and several members of the neighborhood group came to the Mission Valley meeting.
“We voted unanimously against their application twice,” said Noli Zosa, chairman of the Linda Vista group. “The University of San Diego formally protested the application. So we’d like as much help as possible opposing this project.”
The Japan-based corporation’s local arm went directly to the Planning Commission’s hearing officer after the rejection and managed to persuade him that the store was a good idea. In a 30-page report submitted on Apr. 19 and approved on Apr. 26, hearing officer Tim Daly concluded that allowing the store to sell liquor – beer and wine only – was acceptable for several reasons, including that it is in a census tract where there are two such vendors, below the maximum of three.
He notes that two other census tracts within 600 feet of the proposed store both have more stores with alcohol sales licenses than the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency recommended for those areas. The nearest alcohol sellers are 200 feet west, and less than .7 mile north, according to Daly’s report.
The report indicates that, while alcohol-related crime is low in the census tract where the 7-11 would be, the rate of alcohol-involved crime is higher than average in the adjacent tracts.
Linda Vista voted 13-0 against the store twice, once in February and again in March after the store returned with minor changes to its plan.
Linda Vista planning group members are scrambling to put together an appeal of the decision before the May 5 deadline.
Mission Valley doesn’t have jurisdiction over the north side of Friars, which rankles the planning group. Just last month, plans for a five-acre development of 310 apartments and condos, plus business and retail space on the north side of Friars went through the planning commission’s approval process without comment from Mission Valley.
“Any development on the north side of Friars dramatically affects Mission Valley,” group member Marco Sessa said. “Mission Valley is unique in that we have a number of areas that in Mission Valley but not in our planning group.”
The city is reluctant to change planning group boundaries, planning staff explained, because staff believes it creates a lot of work with minimal results. “If Linda Vista and Mission Valley get together and day we don’t want this, whether it’s a pain in the butt for you or not, it seems like that should matter,” Sessa said.