WATTS — A city planning official last week delayed a recommendation on plans to rebuild a riot-ravaged mini-mart at 10626 Weigand Ave., saying he needs more time to study the project.
Owner Louis Chan wants to rebuild Joe's Market in an area that is zoned for residential use. He has asked the city Planning Department for a variance that would allow him to permanently operate a business at the site.
But Associate Zoning Administrator Horace E. Tramel Jr. said he wants to consider whether the business will create "unnecessary hardships," such as graffiti, trash and loitering.
"I want to review the proposal," Tramel said. "There are issues that need to be worked out." He said he will make a recommendation within two weeks.
The store sold beer and wine before it was destroyed, and Chan has asked for permission to do so again. A spokesman for Chan said the previous mini-mart posed few problems.
"The store is not a liquor store," said Eric Au, an engineer working on plans for the new mini-mart. "It's like a regular 7-Eleven store. We need to look at the need of the people. They depend on the service."
Officer Hugo Baeza of the Police Department's Southeast vice unit said a survey of residents within a block of the site indicated strong support for the new store. He said the area has little public transportation for residents, who often must walk a quarter mile or more for groceries.
Meanwhile, a Planning Commission hearing officer is expected to conduct a Jan. 12 public hearing on whether alcohol sales should be permitted at the mini-mart. A recommendation from that hearing, along with the zoning administrator's conclusions, will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for a final decision in late January.
Au said the market was built in 1924, before the city had a General Plan establishing zoning guidelines. The market has operated through city-approved conditional-use extensions since Los Angeles adopted the plan.