Downtown 7-Eleven seeks alcohol license

A planned 7-Eleven store in downtown Huntington Beach has applied for a license to sell beer and wine, causing some to protest another business selling alcohol in the DUI-plagued neighborhood.

A Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesman confirmed that the mini mart, which the company hopes to open at the Plaza Almeria complex at 301 Main St., applied for a license May 17.

Residents have until the end of June to send protests or other input to the department.

The Huntington Beach Police Department has already protested the application, as it automatically does to all downtown submissions in hopes of getting the business owners to agree to concessions.

David Rice, president of the grass-roots group HB Neighbors, also said his group plans to oppose it.

"Nothing against 7-Eleven, per se," he said. "I just don't think we need any more liquor downtown."

Plaza Almeria developer John Tillotson said his group is in the midst of getting city approvals for the 7-Eleven and doesn't have an opening date set. HB Neighbors' opposition didn't dissuade him.

"They can't stop legal commerce out there," Tillotson said. "I don't drink, but I wouldn't deny you the right to have a drink if you go to a restaurant or another establishment that sells beer and wine."

Last year, several members of HB Neighbors protested an alcohol license application by Ka Shabu, an Asian fondue restaurant near the 7-Eleven. An administrative law judge ruled in the restaurant's favor.

The census tract that covers downtown has 39 on-sale alcohol licenses, which allow venues to sell drinks to be consumed on the premises, and seven off-sale licenses, which cover businesses such as grocery stores and mini marts.

Groups such as HB Neighbors and the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. have taken a public stance against the proliferation of alcohol downtown.

Last year, HB Neighbors issued a report showing the number of bar patrons who spill onto the streets at night, while the residents association published one analyzing the connection between alcohol and crime in the area.

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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