On April 14, Association Zoning Administrator Henry Chu issued a determination letter granting the go-ahead for a new 7-Eleven store – to be open 24 hours a day, and which will be permitted to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption – at the NE corner of Olympic Blvd. and La Brea Ave. (5279 W. Olympic Blvd.). The approval, however, contained a long list of conditions, negotiated between 7-Eleven’s representatives and the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association last year, which aim to mitigate the store’s impact on the neighborhood and improve the property overall.
Among the conditions required by the city, and enshrined in the determination letter, are requirements that 7-Eleven follow through with plans to restore and upgrade the building’s facade, to more closely match its original Mission-Revival style and to increase window frontage along Olympic Blvd.
In addition, the company will be required to improve landscaping, lighting and security at the property, including a minimum of five security cameras focused on key locations inside and outside the store. The store will also be required to maintain window transparency (not cover the windows with large signs), maintain the property well (including prompt removal of litter and graffiti), and meet with the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association at least twice a year to maintain ties with the neighbors and discuss any issues that may come up.
Interestingly, neighborhood residents and their local association were resistant to the idea of the 7-Eleven when it was first proposed last spring, but after several months of close negotiations with company representatives, and mutual agreement on the proposed property renovations and operating conditions, the SSNA board voted unanimously to support the conditioned proposal. The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, as well as adjacent neighborhood associations in Miracle Mile and La Brea-Hancock, also voiced their support.
Ann Eggleston, SSNA president last year during the negotiation process, said yesterday that, “I am extremely proud of the neighbors and board members of Sycamore Square who took the time and were open to the possibility of working with 7-Eleven. It was a great example of negotiating, compromise and getting support from surrounding neighborhoods as well as the GWNC and our City Council office.”
During final discussions with the Zoning Administrator, City Council District 4 added a request that the approval contain a clause mandating a review after two years, which the neighbors also supported.
While the Zoning Administrator was careful to include as many of the neighbors’ requested conditions as possible in his approval, however, he also pointed out that several conditions relating directly to the sales of alcohol – requested and agreed to by both neighbors and 7-Eleven representatives – are not under the purview of his office, and can only be considered by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which grants the actual liquor license. Those requested conditions include alcohol sales limited to the hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and no sales of single-serving alcoholic beverages or fortified or malt liquor beverages. Chu’s determination letter does make those recommendations to the ABC, but that agency will have the final say in whether they are approved and enforced.
After the ABC ruling, according to 7-Eleven representative Tara Devine, “7-Eleven is currently budgeting 90-120 days to obtain building permits, and a similar length of time for the remodel. So I think they are hoping for a store opening late this year, but it could be early next year.”
At this point, Sycamore Square neighbors say they’re happy with the progress so far, and are cautiously optimistic about the new store. “It will be up to Sycamore Square to make sure that 7-Eleven fulfills the conditions, meets regularly with us, and continues enlisting the support of the Council office if help is needed,” said Eggleston.