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.”