The city of San Mateo is taking to the court system in hopes of closing a 7-Eleven the City Council previously deemed to be operating illegally in a residential zone, but the business is fighting back by asking a judge to overturn the decision of the elected body.
In January, the City Council voted unanimously that the 7-Eleven which recently opened in the former home of Stangelini's Italian Deli is actually zoned for residential. After the deli closed, the space reverted back to residential zoning, according to the city. However, the 7-Eleven at 501 N. San Mateo Drive is still in operation. On Thursday, the city filed a lawsuit against the location claiming the use is illegal, it should close and asking that the business cover the legal costs. On Friday, PDP Bayfair and 7-Eleven filed a petition seeking to overturn the council's decision, said attorney Richard Givens.
Those legal requests have been consolidated prohibiting the city from enforcing the Jan. 14 decision until a hearing date for both requests can be set, said Givens. Now both sides will need to work on setting that date, he said.
The opening of the 7-Eleven has been a long-contested issue with many from the San Mateo Heights neighborhood opposing the opening arguing that the store has brought more noise, light and garbage into the area.
The Planning Department interpreted the city code to say that the market use was lost. City staff had stuck by the issuance of building permits, however, and defended the 7-Eleven use at the site for the past several months, saying the property owners had constitutional rights.
The council also found that the former property owners, Isaac Choy and Susan Lin, willingly abandoned the market use at 501 N. San Mateo Drive as they marketed the space for a medical or dental office use.
The 7-Eleven was found to be an illegal extension and intensification of the prior use by the council which also found that unnecessary physical changes were made to the building to no longer make it a legal non-conforming use such as Stangelini's was.
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