Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Thoughts About 7-11 In Denville
7-11 is intersted in purchasing the old auto-garage across from Norman Dean Funeral Home in Denville. I'm not a huge fan of 7-11s and not too interested in one being so close to our downtown. It has the potential to disrupt the small-town feel Denville has.
However, the area has been zoned for commercial/retail use for decades. And the owner of the property has a right to sell/open whatever type of establishment he/she wants as long as fits with the type of usage area has been zoned for. And despite my pre-conceived notions of what 7-11s look like, there are some newer 7-11s that are very presentable and work well within downtown districts. Morristown & Panther Valley are two examples.
There certainly are others like myself, cautious about a 7-11 in our downtown. However, there is a misconception that the Planning Board meeting tomorrow night (Weds, May 24th) has the option to reject a -7-11 from coming to that location. Unfortunately, that is most likely not going to happen. The Planning Board is not deciding whether to allow 7-11 to open. They are deciding as to whether they grant 7-11 variances for sign usage and front yard setback. Local governments can not be specific about types of establishments property owners can open. I' ve heard people say "it'd be ok if it were a WAWA". Well that's illegal and unconstitutional. None of us should support governments restricting establishments based on our whether they like that establishment. This is America. Citizens can open businesses on private property they choose as long as they are legal businesses abiding by the laws of that location. Other than those use variances the owners of the property do not need "township" approval to open a 7-11. (Minutes from 1st Planning Board Meeting)
I might also note that outside of being illegal, restricting an establishment from opening due to unsubstantiated stigmas of that establishment would easily result in costing Denville taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Naturally any property owner would sue the Township if we restricted them, which is unbelievable costly to taxpayers.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
The Planning Board can request the applicant (7-11) make remedies to accommodate parking, traffic, etc.. but can't say "no we don't want a 7-11". It can also be an opportunity to ask the 7-11 owners to do other things to help the neighborhood. (They wouldn't be contingent on approval but it doesn't hurt to ask) So I encourage everyone who is concerned about those implications to attend the meeting and ask questions during the public portion. The Planning Board is made up of fellow Denville residents just like ourselves. None of them have any vested interest or benefit in whether a 7-11 is there or not. I have confidence they'll make the right decisions for our town and I encourage residents to discuss these matters with the Planning Board.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?
If you absolutely don't want a 7-11? Let's utilize the best form of protest we have, our wallets and pocketbooks. Show up to the meeting and remind 7-11 that we'll support SmartWorld or Mara's for our coffee. We'll go to DenvilleMart for quick convenience items. When we need a newspaper, we'll go to the Smoke Shop. Contact 7-11 Corporate. and let them know as well.