Inglewood’s District 2 residents showed up in force at this weeks Planning Commission meeting. They were driven by an application submitted by 7-Eleven to sell beer, alcohol and fuel at their new location on LaBrea and 64th. One by one, in front of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, residents voiced their support for the commission denying the application.
The residents of District 2 and the surrounding areas made it very clear that they want La Brea and 64th developed legally and responsibly, in a way that looks to the future, not the past.
The hundreds of neighbors that signed petitions, put up yard signs, wrote to the planning commission and gave public testimony, helped convince the majority of the planning commission that the 7-Eleven special use request should be denied.
The intersection of La Brea and 64th is the Gateway to Inglewood. Whatever establishment breaks ground here will be the first thing people see when they enter Inglewood. We want an anchor that will benefit the community and bring more businesses into District 2.
Larry Springs, Patricia Patrick, and David Rice showed that they care about the future of Inglewood and the integrity of the CEQA laws that have been put in place to protect the environment and the community. We failed to convince commissioners Aide Trejo and Terry Coleman, despite their concerns about security and crime.
Gas stations are the past. Inglewood is looking to the future. Adding a gas station to this area, already oversaturated with gas stations, means Inglewood would be taking a major step backward. It’s a step that cannot be easily retraced. Once you turn it into a gas station, you can’t build anything else there for a very long time.
7-Eleven is probably going to appeal this decision. The residents now need to band together to show the City Council why the denial should be upheld.
We need letters sent to every city council member and the mayor, showing how the categorical exemption presented by 7-Eleven does not meet the CEQA guidelines and therefore should have required an Environmental Impact Report. We need to make sure the city council knows that 7-Eleven has refused to do a comprehensive traffic study. We need to communicate that the neighborhood deserves a Public Necessity or Convenience finding before allowing another establishment to sell beer and wine, especially given the correlation to crime.
All the restaurants, coffee shops and mixed-use buildings seem to land in District 4 to compliment the new stadiums. District 2 deserves to be a destination, not a drive thru for refueling and replenishing a tailgate cooler on the way to a football game.
I have spoken with the property owner, Linda Rosenson as well as Jeff Williams, the 7-Eleven regional manager in charge of this project. They are both nice people who happen to have a very misguided vision of what this community needs. Miss Rosenson confessed it would be easy for her to put something else on this property, such as a Starbucks or Coffee Bean. In fact she said she’s in the works on a deal with one of them on one of her other properties (she owns 40 or so). However, Miss Rosenson and 7-Eleven have already engaged in a conditional land lease. It seems they cannot, in good faith, break their agreement unless this special use request is denied.
We will gladly come out in the same numbers to approve a project that benefits the community. We want the property owner, Miss Linda Rosenson to succeed. We want a business owner to succeed. And we want all of Inglewood to succeed – to be the envy of LA county.
I applaud the planning commission, the city council and the mayor for putting Inglewood back on the map. But now that people want to invest in Inglewood, part of our future success will be ushering in businesses that help draw the right kinds of new development. Hilltop Coffee is a good example of a business that will bring more establishments that benefit the community. On the other hand, corporations like 7-Eleven want to take advantage of Inglewood’s resurgence, only servicing those that are passing through the community. No business owner is incentivized to open up next door to a 7-Eleven.
If 7-Eleven just wanted to put a convenience store here, we know there is nothing we could do. But they want to sell beer and wine. And they want to install an 8 pump gas station. That’s why they are asking for a special use permit. And that’s why we are saying no.
It would be a dangerous precedent to bend California’s CEQA laws and to ignore the needs of the community to grant 7-Eleven their special use permit. The city council has every legal right to deny it. It’s what the people want and it’s what the city of Inglewood needs.Joseph Saroufim, District 2
The final vote was 3-2 with Planning Commissioners representing Councilmembers Eloy Morales and Ralph Franklin voting in favor of the project.
Inglewood residents have options to remove council members this November, when ALL members of the city council, excluding Mayor Butts, are up for re-election.