After encountering strong community opposition, 7-Eleven officials have withdrawn a liquor store application for a new store to be built across the street from a Southwest Los Angeles school.
At an area Planning Commission hearing Tuesday, 7-Eleven representatives announced they had withdrawn their application to sell beer and wine at a store across the street from an elementary school.
They will, however, continue their plans to build a convenience store at a new shopping center at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Coliseum Street, a representative for the company said.
Jeffrey Vinnick, an attorney for the corporation, said Wednesday that the community "was very supportive" of the decision to drop the liquor application. Vinnick said residents had made it clear that they were opposing only the alcohol sales and not the store itself.
About three months ago, the city's zoning administrator approved a liquor permit for the store. The convenience store's representatives were awaiting approval from the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. However, on behalf of a neighborhood group called Baldwin Village Community in Action and with the support of the LAPD's Southwest Division, Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas appealed the zoning administrator's approval to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.
Ridley-Thomas called 7-Eleven's move an example of "responsible corporate citizenship."
"It came about as a result of continuing meetings with community residents and stakeholders who did not believe that another beer and wine license for that particular vicinity would be in the best interests of the community," he said.
Several LAPD vice officers from the Southwest Division were present at the hourlong hearing Tuesday. They say the area has a reputation for gangs and narcotics and the fewer liquor licenses, the fewer problems with public drunkenness they expect.
"It makes it easier for our jobs," said Sgt. William Carter.
Residents are looking forward to the shopping center, with 7-Eleven as the anchor tenant.
"My baby is seven months old, and he might need some milk," said Celeste Nichols, 28. "There is nothing around here. We need a store."
Morris Berniard, a supervising investigator with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said he was surprised by the withdrawal.
"That's a first," Berniard said.
He said he believes the corporation will try to prove itself to the neighborhood first and then reapply for a liquor license.