ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local convenience store is asking the city for permission to sell alcohol, but worried neighbors say it will increase crime in the area and they’re working to block the effort.
“We’re leading the charge with four neighborhoods that border Washington and Lomas,” said Victor Lopez, founder of Learners Chess Academy in the neighborhood.
He said more than a hundred neighbors, chess parents and businesses in the area are joining together against 7-Eleven on the corner of Washington and Lomas.
The store applied with the City of Albuquerque for a zoning exception to sell alcohol within 500 feet of a residential zone. But critics say it will cause an increase in property crime and violent crime in the area.
They even created a website to make it easy for people to submit concerns to the city.
“We’re here trying to do a positive thing for our society by teaching kids how to play chess and the last thing we need is an establishment right across the street, selling alcohol and attracting the kind of crowds that we’re really trying to keep our kids away from,” Lopez said.
Not all neighbors feel so strongly about it.
“It doesn’t offend me, or I don’t think it’s necessarily going to drive crime up any higher than it is,” Jeff Acker said.
KRQE News 13 stopped by 7-Eleven and left messages at the regional office but no one talked.
They will talk next week in an effort to come to an agreement with neighbors who are signing petitions and sending letters of opposition to the city.
If the two parties can’t work it out amongst themselves at their meeting next week, it is on the agenda in two weeks for Albuquerque’s Zoning Hearing Examiner.
The examiner will listen to both sides of the argument and then make a decision.