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Town of Princeton Considers Restricting Retail Business Hours Near Residential Neighborhoods

The site of the proposed 7-Eleven on Nassau Street.
The site of the proposed 7-Eleven on Nassau Street.

The governing body of Princeton will discuss an ordinance tonight that would limit the hours that businesses such as convenience stores, food retail stores  and restaurants could remain open.

The catalyst for the ordinance is the proposed 7-Eleven store that is proposed for the former West Coast Video site on Nassau Street.

Town Planner Lee Solow wrote a memo to the governing body last week saying his office has received a number of complaints from residents about noise, litter, and crowds congregating near businesses that are open late at night and early in the morning.

“Princeton Council should provide guidance on whether staff should proceed and develop an ordinance limiting the hours of operation for retail businesses,” Solow wrote in a June 4 memo to Bob Bruschi, town administrator.

Solow wrote that he discussed the issue with the municipal attorney and that it may be possible to regulate the hours for retail businesses under the municipality’s police powers. The governing body will discuss the issue at town hall at 7:30 tonight.

Most businesses in Princeton open at 8 a.m. or later and close at 9 p.m. or earlier, Solow said. The exceptions are the two CVS stores in Princeton, the Wawa, Hoagie Haven, Dominos, and several restaurants.

Solow has recommended that the governing body develop an ordinance that would restrict the operating hours for retail businesses, restaurants, and other food establishments that are adjacent to a residential zone or adjacent to a residence in a residential zone. He has recommended that businesses open no earlier than 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. and be allowed to stay open no later than midnight or 2 a.m.

“Exemptions should be carved out for plenary retail liquor consumption and distribution licenses, as they are regulated under other municipal codes, and for 24-hour pharmacies,” he wrote.

The owners of 259 Nassau Street, the site of the former West Coast Video, plan to open a 7-Eleven convenience store in the building that has been vacant for several years.

Robert Bratman, who owns the property with his sister, Cynthia Bratman, wrote a letter to residents from the East Nassau neighborhood earlier this year informing them of the plans and inviting them to an informal neighborhood meeting in March.

“For the past several years we have been searching for a tenant that not only has the financial stability to ensure longevity but who will provide the community with a store from which to purchase fresh grocery products and other important items,” Bratman wrote. “We have found that tenant in 7-1Eleven.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Stephen

    Fluorescent lights are great! So energy efficient! And what do you have against drug users? Our last few presidents were illegal drug users in their youths.

    If anything, it’s the hoity-toity elites that are ruining the quality of life in Princeton.

  • Boycott 7-11

    Boycott 7-11. Fresh Groceries? Nassau street already has places you can buy groceries, only they are from higher quality, cleaner, local sources. 7-11’s attract low-lifes and transient degenerates. We don’t need tacky flourescent lights and loitering drug users to stare at from the Blue Point Grill patio. Bratman – why don’t you just sell this property rather than destroying the quality of our town?

  • Stephen

    This is some grade-A bull. Anti-littering laws and noise ordinances are ALREADY on the books.

    Someone needs to call this what it is: an effort to keep away the undesirable /people/ residents assume will patronize late-night establishments.

    When I first moved to Princeton, I read through the complete Borough code and I’m reminded now of a similar bullshit law: gas stations aren’t allowed to operate past 10pm (or 11pm, grandfathered in). God forbid you’re some weary traveler, running on fumes, rolling in to Princeton in the wee hours of the morning. “Nope, you’re not wanted here, friend; keep on moving!”

  • JustAsking

    I think the concern is about the 2am-6am time period.

  • C S

    Too funny! The (d)Ivy Inn, opened in 1966, is open until 2AM, while Hoagie Haven, relatively new–having opened only 40 years ago–is open until 1AM; both are across the street from the abandoned video store.

    You have to be a special breed of stupid to willingly live so close to Nassau and expect it to be quiet.

  • geoffrey2k

    Ah, Fresh grocery products. It’s as if I’ve awoken from a bad dream. Soon I’ll simply amble in to my local 7-Eleven, open 6-12, and the days of Davidson’s will be magically recreated. Heaven awaits…joy!

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