Zoning Board approves new 7-Eleven, but not 24-hours

2000 San Pablo

7-Eleven had hoped to open a 24-hour store at 2000 San Pablo Ave., on the corner with University, but Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board ruled on Thursday that it could not be open through the night. Photo: Kaia Diringer

Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday approved 7-Eleven’s application to open a store at 2000 San Pablo Ave. (at University) with an ATM machine and some design changes, but said it did not want the store to be open 24 hours.

Before the motion was passed, 7-Eleven representatives at the ZAB meeting had emphasized that operating 24-hours is at the core of their business model. The convenience store chain now has the right to appeal ZAB’s decision to the Berkeley City Council.

The ZAB Board listened to comments from around 25 residents and merchants of the west Berkeley neighborhood whose nexus is the intersection of San Pablo and University where the store would be located. The majority were opposed to a 7-Eleven coming into the area. Their concerns, which were also raised at a community meeting at the proposed 7-Eleven site on Jan. 8, centered on the negative impact such a store might have on local crime and safety, in particular if it was open all night.

San Pablo Local 123 by Kaia Diringer

Many residents of this west Berkeley neighborhood feel it has seen significant improvements in the past 10-15 years, in terms of quality of life and safety, improvements which would be reversed by the arrival of a 7-Eleven convenience store. Photo: Kaia Diringer

7-Eleven did not need to apply for a use permit to open at the site as the space is already zoned for retail.

Neighbors were also worried about litter and the competition 7-Eleven might pose to local businesses. The area has a significant mix of ethnic food stores and restaurants and was designated an international food district by the city several years ago.

Jesus Mendez, owner of Mi Tierra Foods at 2082 San Pablo, said competition was not an issue for him, but he opposed 7-Eleven because the neighborhood had been improving over the past 15 years and he didn’t want to see that reversed.

Many locals spoke of a ‘fragile’ neighborhood that could see a decline with the wrong type of tenant.

Frieda Hoffman who owns Local 123, a café that is seen to have made a positive contribution to the neighborhood since it opened in 2009, said she didn’t believe 7-Eleven was a good fit, and that it might exacerbate the problem of homeless people loitering in the area.

However, several speakers said they would be happy to see a 7-Eleven take over the corner space that has long been vacant, as it would mean having a well-lit store and ‘eyes on the street.’ (A sentiment echoed by a Berkeley Police safety audit presented at the ZAB meeting by BPD Officer Cesar Melero.) There was also mention of the new local jobs the store would offer.

The building’s owner said he had been trying to sell the building since 2010. Sid Wiener of Illinois-based SKW Capital Management recently bought it. He said he had tried hard and failed to find local tenants, and was pleased he had found in 7-Eleven a tenant who would invest in the building.

At the Jan. 8 community meeting, neighbors said they were worried 7-Eleven would apply for an alcohol license in future, even though it was not doing so now. Before last night’s ZAB meeting, 7-Eleven committed in writing to not applying for a license for at least 10 years. The Board added to its conditions that it would prefer to see that amended to “in perpetuity.”

The Board also stipulated that rather than 7-Eleven having to comply to standard opening hours as an alternative to a 24-hour operation — which would be 6 a.m. to midnight — it would allow the store to open at 5 a.m.

Susan Black, one of the residents who has been organizing the campaign against 7-Eleven, said she thought the ruling was the best result neighbors could have expected. “We knew we couldn’t do anything about them coming in, and our biggest concerns were the all-night hours and the possible future alcohol license. This was as good as we were going to get.”

View all the city documents relating to 7-Eleven’s application.

Locals oppose 7-Eleven coming into ‘fragile’ neighborhood [01.10.13]
Berkeley grocer vows to give back despite robbery [03.01.11]
In Berkeley a café opens, a community blossoms [07.16.10]

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  • David D.

    I continue to be amused by my neighbors who are all for rights blah blah blah except when it comes to things that fall into the NIMBY category. Having more/any businesses open in town between midnight and 6 a.m. would work wonders for improving street safety in the late evening and early morning hours. Anyone who thinks having this 7-11 shut at midnight every night will benefit the community must go to bed at 9 sharp every night. Ignorance is bliss.

  • Just Sayin

    Ahhhh. Opinions ARE like assholes, aren’t they?

  • Che Joubert

    Where do they scrape up some of these bloggers? I don’t normally write like this but reading ‘opinions are like assholes’, and I continue to be amused by my neighbors who are all for rights blah blah. . . ‘ makes me mildly sick. 7-11 are just crummy stores, that’s all. Is this a surprise for you? Back from Antarctica recently are we? Why are you so ‘amused’ by your neighbors?’ You know why people around here are for ‘rights’ uh duh, you don’t know which ones clearly – but let’s go straight to the point – they discuss rights because this area isn’t filled with bigots like most areas in this country. Shall I explain why people don’t like 7-11’s? They’re horribly mediocre, sell crappy food, crappy drinks, all overpriced, and they’re ugly, and let me add – ugly,

  • Alcohol, tobacco, fast/processed food….good for the neighborhood? Are you serious? Hope Berkeley City Council limits hours of this exposure drastically!! Many police departments do not believe 7 Elevens are a benefit to the health and well being of our neighborhoods. See what highly regarded LAPD Chief Beck thinks of 24 hour 7 Elevens…do an internet search: Eaglerock LAPD Chief Beck 7 Eleven….

  • B2B

    A brightly lit 7-11 doesn’t particularly bother me if it’s not open 24 hrs and doesn’t sell alcohol. Do I like 7-11? No. Would I frequent 7-11? No. Wonder who the 7-11 folks think are going to make it worthwhile to open up on that corner? On the other hand, recently a friend of mine who was on crutches was in a car that had a minor accident on that corner after dark, and she and her elderly mother (the driver) were aggressively accosted by two arseholes who knew my friend couldn’t defend herself. It’s possible that a 7-11 there would have offered them at least a brightly lit place to go to avoid further problems. As it was, she called her grown children to come down and act as reinforcements as well as the police who didn’t show up for a long time.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    how about calling it six12

  • Biker 94703

    I agree. I can’t recall the last time I was in a 7-11 and can’t imagine that I’d ever go into this one but having it close at Midnight is just stupid. The Albatross is open til 2 for god-sakes. If you’re worried about “the late-night element”, just pull the 4th Street Peets trick: put a dedicated police parking spot out front and give cops free coffee between 10pm and 10am.

    (Full disclosure: for my late night hooch I prefer Marina Liquors where the drunk wheelchair guy shivved the clerk back a few years.)

  • How long does a storefront have to be vacant, before we’re glad somebody – just about anybody – is interested in moving into it? 7-11s offer mediocre products at inflated prices, which is still more than can be said about an empty building offering nothing but blight.

  • It’s better than a marginally licensed pot club. At least my kid can get a slurpee. I tell you what, NIMBYs. If my 11 year old son can walk down and get a slurpee unsupervised by me, it’s a win for the neighborhood. If the place becomes a sketchfest, and I feel the same way when I walk into LoCost Liquors (unwelcome), it’s a loss. I’m willing to roll the dice on this one.

  • Sure, they’re crap. So is Foster’s Freeze down the street. Although I’m a sucker for dipped cone and bag of onion rings. Would you like a new Peet’s? What’s on your SimCity menu, Mr. Mayor?

  • Guest

    I”m a neighbor who welcomes the 7-11. I can’t see myself shopping there for anything. But having a brightly lit corner will make the neighborhood safer. As for loiterers, I just don’t see them outside of the other 7-11’s in town. As long as they don’t sell alcohol I don’t think we have to worry about that. The neighborhood already has such nice local flavor, a few chain stores here and there just add to the balance. Sorry they can’t be open all night.

  • neighbor

    I’m a neighbor who is happy to have 7-11. Though I can’t see myself shopping there, I think it will actually be good for the other businesses and the neighborhood in general. It will provide a brightly lit corner, wish it was open all night. I just don’t see loiterers outside of the other 7-11’s in town. If they don’t sell alcohol, I can’t see what the problem is. We have a nice variety of small businesses with a local flavor there, a few chain stores here and there are good for the balance. Just glad it’s not a Dollar Tree – we are already pretty saturated with those. Anyways, welcome 7-11. Sorry some folks are making it tough for you.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Foster’s Freeze moved into the neighborhood 50 years ago or more. Much better stores have been moving in recently, including Luca, Gaumenkitzel, and Local 123, which many people say has better coffee than Peets.

  • Brian

    You know what’s worse than 7-11? The shit-hole it’s going to be replacing.

    Get over yourself.

  • Name

    So are you saying that opinions are like you?

  • bgal4

    > I just don’t see loiterers outside of the other 7-11’s in town.

    You must not get up to Telegraph much, could someone post a photo of a typical crowd outside the Telegraph 7-11 in the evening because this statement is so far from reality. 24 hr operation bring many issues including at this particular location attracting robbery with easy access to the freeway.

  • bgal4

    >As for loiterers, I just don’t see them outside of the other 7-11’s in town.

    someone post a photo of the Telegraph 7-11 on any given hour of the day with a crowd hanging out front.

    if 24 hr this location would be an nuisance for many reasons, including robberies because of the proximity to the highway.

  • They will sell alcohol…they always do….don’t let them fool you.

  • neighbor

    telegraph avenue doesnt count. there are grungy loiterers outside every business there. it has nothing to do with 7-11 in particular.

  • bgal4

    this assessment is simply not true.

  • Your opinion of “better” sounds incredibly classist to me.

  • Bob Ross

    No loiterers outside the University Ave 7-11 at Sacramento.

  • bgal4

    I live nearby, they do a good job of managing the store, but there are times with people hanging out on the side of the lot/building.

  • bgal4

    State law determines alcohol sales geographically, there already is an over concentration of alcohol sales in the area. If 7-11 attempts to bypass the law demand the city conduct a determination of public convenience or necessity.

  • Tigre’ma

    I’m a little confused…I was at the hearing and I don’t recall “several speakers [saying] they would be happy” with a 7-11. Or rather, there were a few neighborhood people in support of having a vacant storefront being filled, even if it was with a 7-11. But of the approximately 10 people in favor, 6 were affiliated with 7-11, none of which live in this neighborhood and most of which don’t even live in Berkeley.

    And the idea propounded by the BPD that a “well-lit store” would somehow deter loitering or crime can be easily disputed by looking at the well-lit Church’s Chicken down the street and the 99 Cents Only store across the street.
    I wish 7-11 was NOT moving in there, but I’m glad that they were at least denied the 24 hour permit they wanted.

  • guest123

    I thought you lived in south Berkeley?

  • bgal4

    Sacramento and University is less than a mile, I have shopped there for milk many times in the evening returning from work.

  • Hearst St. Neighbor

    I think you mean Popeye’s Chicken. Church’s Chicken is further down the street and doesn’t have loiterers. In that area there are always loiterers and litterers around Popeye’s Chicken/Bing’s Liquor and Everett & Jones BBQ/99¢ Store.
    But all 4 businesses attract a large number of African American patrons, so if you complain too much you’re liable to get accusations of racism.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Your opinion that we should have “crap” places serving unhealthy food in the neighborhood sounds to me like it is lowering life expectancy.

  • Charles_Siegel

    I should add that the places where I shop in this neighborhood are Country Cheese and Me Ranchito, where I buy healthy and affordable food.

    I mentioned the fancier new places in the neighborhood to counter CaptFuzz’s claim that the existing stores in the neighborhood are crap, and therefore we need more crap.

    Maybe it is incredibly classist of CaptFuzz to suggest that this neighborhood deserves to eat unhealthy crap.

  • bonne_sante

    Not that anyone cares, but 7-11 stores tend to have surcharge-free ATMs for people with Citibank accounts. I’ve also seen some machines that accept deposits and process utility payments. This is good for people who aren’t Mechanics Bank or Wells Fargo customers!

  • guest


  • Chris

    In this case, 5-12.

  • Disappointed

    Who the heck made you the authority or gave you the right to decide what other people should or shouldn’t eat?

  • Charles_Siegel

    I don’t have the right to decide. Because we live in a democracy, the majority (or their representatives) have the right to decide what development we will allow, and I (and everyone else) have the right to state my opinion.

    If you haven’t heard about how much damage this sort of food does to health, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Here is the ingredients label from Seven-Eleven for it’s Coca-Cola Classic flavored Slurpee. Different flavors will have slightly different ingredients:

    High fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose, water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine, quillaia, and yucca extract.

    Just what a growing boy needs, 48 grams of sugar and 177 calories in 12 ounces of beverage and not a speck of anything that nutritionists would call “healthy”. Geez, makes donuts look like health food.

  • Cookie Monster

    Are you really so tone-deaf that you don’t understand what an a-hole you sound like lecturing other people about what they let their kids have as an occasional treat?


  • Cookie Monster

    Tell you what, if you don’t like this business why don’t you start one of your own and offer to lease the space for the same price.

  • bgal4

    prior post duplicated here, nothing to worry about

  • Charles_Siegel

    I don’t object to an occasional treat. I object to a steady diet of junk food that has given Americans the highest level of obesity in the world.

    Do you know that Americans spend almost twice as much on health care as the average in other industrial nations, but we have the lowest life expectancy of any industrial nation? The main reasons are our bad diets and lack of exercise.

  • Charles_Siegel

    A brilliant comment, I am sure. If anyone states an opinion on any development proposed in Berkeley, you want him to build the alternative with his own money. In your world, only Donald Trump would be able to state his opinion.

    Tell you what, if you like people eating junk food, you should support a tax on junk food to cover the health care costs that they cost. Right now, everyone pays higher health insurance costs to pay for treating those who damage their own health with their bad habits. A tax on sugary beverages to help pay for health care was proposed during the debate about Obamacare, but it was killed by the soda industry.

    If you want to damage your health by eating junk food, you should pay the cost of treating the diseases you cause. You shouldn’t expect people with healthier habits to pay for your bad habits.

  • Cookie Monster

    CaptFuzz never said that he gives his son a “steady diet” of Slurpees so what prompted you to start lecturing him on how he ought to raise his kids?

  • tired of the nimby ‘tude


  • GD

    A 7/11 that closes at midnight and doesn’t sell alcohol is not a 7/11.