Readers Speak Out On 7-eleven At Mount Vernon

SPEAK OUT

December 06, 2008

As much as some people in Mount Vernon would like to have a 7-Eleven store around the corner, I truly feel that the proposed new store would be a huge mistake ("Bid to block 7-Eleven in Mount Vernon falls short," Nov. 25).

If you have ever driven the 1000 block of Calvert St., I'm sure you know that it's often necessary to be in the left-hand lane a block before you get to the 7-Eleven because it's a given that someone will be double-parked there, blocking the right-hand lane while grabbing whatever it is he or she needs in the 7-Eleven on that block. It's a given, and it stinks.

The neighborhood has enough issues with delivery trucks on Charles Street right now. But we in the neighborhood don't want to fight them because the area's existing small businesses need them to survive. With a new 7-Eleven, we would have customers double-parking and delivery trucks blocking lanes all day.

The store would also be a great first stop for people coming out of Central Booking.

The Washington Monument is one of the most beautiful landmarks in our nation. Baltimore really doesn't have much to be proud of these days, and putting a 7-Eleven right near it would be a huge mistake. And there's no question that the store would bring more crime and more bad elements to our neighborhood.

I intend to start a family very soon, and if this is what the future holds for Mount Vernon, it's not where I want to raise my family.

Temple Moore, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association.

The objections to the proposed 7-Eleven on Mount Vernon Square are symptomatic of a single-mindedness that has plagued this city's development for decades.

I am an architect who lives in Mount Vernon, and I would love to see something fill the long vacant space where the 7-Eleven may go. But interest groups and individuals in the area think they have some kind of stake in who can and cannot lease an available retail space.

So why do they seem to regard the Donna's restaurant on the other end of the square as acceptable? Because of its subtle signage and integration into its historic building? Or maybe, and more disturbingly, because it caters to the right kind of people?

People hear "7-Eleven" and they immediately picture a suburban box with huge orange and green stripes. But who says the store has to look that way?

The space is already practically underground, and in a historic building at that. Instead of shouting platitudes, we should set up signage guidelines in advance to accommodate the needs of both the public and the marketplace.

When the public starts reacting to what the private sector does on a case-by-case basis, that sets the stage for simple tyranny of the majority.

Those who are afraid of loud graphics and neon on Mount Vernon Square should lobby the city to adjust zoning laws accordingly so everyone knows the rules up front.

Otherwise, the constant threat of lengthy interest group objections, eminent domain abuses and other after-the-fact red tape will continue to make this town unnecessarily risky to businesses and prevent an active, self-sufficient city from taking shape.

Aaron Zephir, Baltimore

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