N.Y. City Cracks Down on Late Night Stores

C-stores that operate all night in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. may soon be facing new fees and regulations, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

 

A new city ordinance would impose tougher rules on c-stores that operate between 11p.m. and 5 a.m., including a mandatory $500 yearly permit from the city. Leaders citied issues with illegal drugs sales, loitering and other criminal activity around some stores for the proposed ordinance, which could be approved as soon as May 18 by the Common Council

 

In addition, late-night stores also would be required to add security measures to protect customers and employees, including security cameras and silent alarm systems, as well as better lighting in parking areas.

 

“This ordinance is a much-needed tool to make our streets safer,” said Mayor John Tkazyik, after the measure was introduced during the council’s meeting Monday night.

 

City leaders have worked for years to better regulate the 24 c-stores in Poughkeepsie, some of which been a hot-spot for various types of illegal activity, which has angered nearby residents. Such residents say the new measure is vital to combating noise and crime. Other residents argue such late-night c-stores are important because the city lacks a large supermarket and citizens who work late or don’t have access to cars depend on the c-stores for food or over-the-counter medicine.

 

Officials estimated about six stores, including some that double as gas stations, will be affected by the ordinance.

 

The owner of a 24-hour Mobil gas station and convenience store in Poughkeepsie told the Poughkeepsie Journal the new measures would be welcome, but said the $500 permit fee seemed a bit excessive.

 

“I believe this is exactly what they need to do,” Mobil owner Issa said, although because his store is adjacent from the police headquarters, he said he rarely has problems with crime.

 

If the ordinance is approved, stores that fail to pay the $500 permit fee to operate past 11 p.m. or fail to institute the new security measures would face financial penalties. If a business owner is cited, he or she would have 30 days to correct the problem or pay a $100 fine per day for each day the non-compliant condition remained unfixed. The city also would close extended-hour stores that remained open without a permit. Officials said they would give store owners time to comply with the new measures before enforcing penalties.

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