There goes the neighborhood

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We have tried our best to be supportive of community opposition to the opening of new 7-Eleven stores in Great Neck and Mineola. We understand that this is a matter that some residents feel strongly about.

 But in the end we have to agree with 7-Eleven’s assertion in court documents that the village board in Mineola acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner. .. on its own ‘whims’ rather than substantive reasons to ‘appease residents.’”

 The same is true in Great Neck.

 We fear that Mineola and the Village of Great Neck will spend thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting a battle that they are destined to and should lose.

 The arguments are similar in both locations:

 Village of Great Neck resident Julia Shields said of the disputed site, “It’s very quiet. It’s very pleasant and it’s very nice living here. We don’t need something like that in the neighborhood.”

 And Hanna Packer of Great Neck wants, “to plant something there, to create a pleasant space for people who walk by.”

 In Mineola, Charlie Samek goes a step further, “Mineola does not have to have a reason to say no. Mineola doesn’t want it period. Buzz off.”

 The opposition doesn’t like 7-Elevens because they are open 24 hours and because they say they will be noisy, a traffic hazard, will attract loiterers and will be dangerous.

 Had the politicians representing Mineola made an effort to work with 7-Eleven rather then take an untenable legal stand to appease voters, they probably could have convinced the company to agree to concessions that would have addressed some of the concerns. We hope Village of Great Neck officials don’t make the same mistake.

 The 7-Eleven company has a national brand and reputation to protect. They will not allow these properties to become an eyesore or a gathering place for kids hanging out. The police can make certain that doesn’t happen.

 The concerns about traffic are nonsense. The site in Great Neck was once a gas station and cannot be developed for residential use.

 The Village of Great Neck Board of Zoning Appeals and Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss and the village board do a disservice to residents if they don’t make it clear that there are limited reasons for which they can legally oppose the opening  of a new business.

 We believe that residents in both communities, despite the vocal minority, will welcome the convenience of 7-Elevens that will be open 24-7. People coming home after working the night shift might appreciate the opportunity to purchase a Big Gulp, a coffee or a beer (to drink at home).

 The businesses will create new employment opportunities and generate tax dollars. If indeed no one likes the businesses, they will close.

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