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    7-Eleven, N.Y. Town Lock Horns Over Zoning Regulations

    C-store chain files suit over a new rule stating that freestanding convenience stores must now have enough parking lot space for delivery trucks and install 10 to 25 feet of trees to buffer any noise.

    HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- 7-Eleven Inc. is bringing its fight against new regulations concerning freestanding convenience stores in Huntington to the state's Supreme Court.

    The Dallas-based convenience store retailer filed suit on Oct. 7 challenging the new rules approved by town officials in June. The regulation changes came about after several community groups objected to c-stores being built in their neighborhoods, according to the Huntington Patch.

    Now, town officials are vowing to fight back against 7-Eleven. At a press conference yesterday, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and board members Mark Cuthbertson, Susan Berland and Mark Mayoka said the changes to the regulations were necessary to control noise, and maintain safety and traffic flow. "We continue to stand by the regulations we have passed," Petrone said. "We feel they are on solid ground, and we've done what is important for the communities. We're not restricting any of these stores."

    At the heart of the matter is a mandate that convenience stores must have enough space in their parking lots for delivery trucks. In addition, the regulations call for 10 to 25 feet of trees to buffer any noise that would disturb nearby residents, and a large enough parking lot so customers do not have to park on the street, according to a report by <1>1010Wins.

    7-Eleven said in an e-mailed statement to CSNews Online that it strongly believes the town of Huntington's ordinance discriminates against convenience stores and creates more restrictions compared to other uses.

    As outlined in its lawsuit, the new rules "will greatly impact 7-Eleven's ability to construct new freestanding stores within the town...as such, 7-Eleven will now be subject to a more onerous zoning process with respect to freestanding convenience stores" in certain zoning categories, according to the Huntington Patch.

    The suit also says, "as a result ...7-Eleven's ability to locate new viable parcels, which can fully comply with the ordinance, will be significantly diminished, thereby preventing or hampering 7-Eleven from developing new stores within the town."

    Huntington Supervisor Cuthbertson said the town had carefully studied the impact of convenience stores and concluded that they are "larger than normal traffic generators" and affected nearby residences, "so we enacted a whole host of regulations meant to address those issues."

    Several residents and community groups attended yesterday's press conference in support of the new regulations. Kathy Lau, who said a plan for a 7-Eleven at Route 110 and Livingston Street would have put the store four feet from her house and added to traffic and noise problems, cited police accident data and reports that the average 7-Eleven store has 1,000 customers and seven deliveries a day. "This is a sensible modernization of zoning laws," Lau said.

     

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