The issue of the proposed 7-Eleven in the empty building at the northeast corner of Mills Ave. and Foothill Blvd. is apparently still alive, even though Claremont's Planning Commission voted 6-1 to have city staff draft a denial of the 7-Eleven's conditional use permit application at their February 16 meeting.
We didn't see an announcement for the meeting on the City's website, but we did catch a letter in Saturday's Claremont Courier from resident Jennifer Jaffe--as well as a short article on p. 5-- saying that Claremont Community Development Director Tony Witt has scheduled a community meeting 7pm tonight in the City Council chambers at 225 Second St. in downtown Claremont.
According to Jaffe's letter, "the meeting is intended to provide dialogue between the applicant and the community." Jaffe comes out against the 7-Eleven, and she hopes that others will attend and speak out. Jaffe also said the matter comes back to the Planning Commission at their Tuesday, March 2 meeting. That meeting is at 7pm Tuesday in the council chambers.
You might recall that the planning commissioners expressed their concerns about the issues residents raised about the proposed convenience store. The Daily Bulletin's Wes Woods II reported some of the issues raised at that last Planning Commission meeting:
Lauri Harrison, a resident who lives on Clarion Place, said, "We don't need another place with access to alcohol."
Other residents discussed the possible crime and police issues such a business would cause.
"It seems to me we need to consider the fact the $12,000 to $21,000 in sales tax will be offset by law enforcement costs," Tess Henry told the commission.
The funny thing about the Planning Commission vote is that a different set of residents expressed exactly the same concerns about the City granting the Padua Hills Theatre operators, Chantrelles Catering and Arteco Partners, a conditional use permit to serve alcohol. In fact, the concern about proximity to residences was even greater there, since the Padua Theatre is completely surrounded by single-family homes, some within 100 feet of the theatre. The 7-Eleven site is at least situated on Foothill Blvd., a main, four-lane road, as opposed to the Padua Theatre, whose access is Padua Ave. and Via Padova, both small, curving, two-lane, residential streets.
It seems to us that the City is being awfully inconsistent here. Either they should grant the 7-Eleven their CUP, or they should revoke the one for the Padua Theatre. We don't particularly care one way or the other, but we do believe the City has a duty to act fairly and consistently towards all applicants and residents. The City's inconsistent stances on the 7-Eleven and the Padua Theatre demonstrate precisely how arbitrary Claremont's official processes operate.
Once again, the Official Claremont finds itself hoisted on its own petard.