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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Convenience stores dot municipalities across the country, but some residents in Daytona Beach are saying enough is enough.
At last count, the Midtown neighborhood of this Florida town has 15 c-stores and the City Commission recently approved a site plan for a 16th store, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The mayor and four commissioners voted in favor of the plan submitted by Omar Imam and Absanullah Mahbubor Rasul to build a convenience store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Two commissioners voted against it. Some commissioners voiced opposition to another c-store; however, they acknowledged that the site plan met all city requirements and rules, and they had no legal way to deny Imam and Rasul, the newspaper reported.
The commission's vote reverses an earlier decision by the Midtown Redevelopment Board to reject the plan. The new c-store is not a done deal, though. The owners still need to get a slew of permits before construction can begin.
Those who live and work in the downtown neighborhood bordered mainly by Nova Road, Ridgewood Avenue, George Engram Boulevard and Shady Place argued that some of the convenience stores have a frustrating track record of parking lot drug deals, constant loitering, overpriced items and sales of goods that are expired, stolen and counterfeit, according to the news outlet.
In addition, residents said some of the stores bring little or no healthy food to their community, owners rarely hire Midtown residents and the buildings take up space that could be used for redevelopment of something better.
Hindering development is a major concern; members of the Midtown Redevelopment Board have been working to create a master plan to overhaul and revitalize their neighborhood for the past year. A draft of the plan was recently completed, and it should be up for a City Commission vote soon, the newspaper said.
Some businesses in the area, including several c-stores, are also raising objections to more convenience stores opening their doors. Twelve of them have signed a petition saying just that, the newspaper reported.
"There's too many stores already," said Al Ali, owner of Orange Avenue Mini Mart and one of the petition signers.
One Midtown convenience store owner sent an anonymous letter to the city saying only some shop owners are causing trouble, and pleading for no more competition.
And everyone seems to agree that changes have to be made. "There comes a time in our community when we have to get up and speak," said Hemis Ivey, vice chairman of the Midtown Redevelopment Board. "If we're going to become a vibrant community, we have to change the way we do things."