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Convenience Store on Park Get Thumbs Up

The Alameda Planning Board met last night, October 12, and approved the request for a permit to open a convenience store at 1623 Park Street — despite the fact that more than 400 letters and comments had been received opposing it in August and again in September and October .

You can find some of these opposing statements online, including a letter from the Starland Music Center, at 1631 Park.

However, the owners of the building that will house the convenience store explained that the space has been without a tenant for about half of the past 10 years.

The main tipping point, as far as the city is concerned, is that there is no city limit on the number of convenience stores (or nail shops, for instance) that can be located within the city.

Note that the only reason this convenience store had to go before the Planning Board was due to the fact that it is within 300 feet of a residence.

The good news for some community members is that while the store was aiming to focus on tobacco products, these products will now take up only about 10 percent of the retail area — less than planned.

According to the city, the building that will house the convenience store is not historic and has been vacant. And while there are several convenience stores nearby, that is not enough to limit or restrict further convenience stores from opening.

With a minimal expected impact on nearby residents, in its view, the Planning Board approved the use permit for the convenience store four to one.

The business owner, Abdulmalik Harbi, now has to get a business license and certifcate of occupany before he can open the shop, to be called Better Trade Discount.

The lesson for Alamedans who don’t want convenience shops or more salons opening up is that a major change in city policy is needed. There are many East Bay neighborhoods that have a large number of similar businesses crowded into one area, so Alameda isn’t alone in this respect.

But those hoping for more commercial diversity on the Island have to make a broader case — and a big fight — if they want to bring about such change.

Janet Levaux

  • Dave Johnson

    “But those hoping for more commercial diversity on the Island have to make a broader case — and a big fight — if they want to bring about such change.”

    Why must jumping on the “additional regulation” bandwagon always be the first offense Alamedians turn to when they don’t like what someone else does ?

    I for one would like to see a shift of energy away from the incessant oppressive complaining, toward positive action. If a community wants something other than a convenient store, then let a local entrepreneur stand up. Vote with your dollars and any store would not last long in this town. Why can’t we allow the freedom of capitalism dictate what shops leave and which stay ?

    I for one would absolutely welcome a convenient store run by a friendly and courteous staff rather than the cold and uncaring staff of the Pit Stop Market. I welcome Abdulmalik to make this community a better place. If on the other hand, he opens what becomes something no better than what we already have, he will not gain any of my business.

    We should welcome Abdulmalik or any other entrepreneur willing to risk such great losses as opening up a new business in this scarce economic time. Alameda doesn’t need more regulation, we need more reasonable citizens. Citizens who work toward building a life in Alameda, rather than toward oppressing the lives of others.

    -=dave

  • Ann Sekhon

    It is amazing that 900 petitions to not have another
    tobacco store be allowed to be opened at 1623 park st
    was ignored and another tobacco selling shop, plus novelties and we all know what they are will be allowed
    to opened. It is sad that the residents of alameda make
    no difference.

  • Ann Sekhon

    It is amazing 900 petions submitted requesting to not allow a tobacco store to open up at 1623 Park St. and Planning
    committee could care less, even when some very objectional products were also in the store already and
    Mr. Harbi agreed to take them out, The planning committee
    did not address the traffic on Park St Already, no parking space, and all they were concerned about was it does not matter if another convenience store opens up.
    The planning committee did even get a clear answer to what kinds of novelity items are to be sold, all I can say is amazing.