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Shut down convenience store on 809 Pendleton Street
  • Petitioned Rose Boyd
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

The Alexandria City Council
Rose Boyd
See response
The Alexandria City Council
Frank Fannon
The Alexandria City Council
Kerry Donley
The Alexandria City Council
Del Pepper
The Alexandria City Council
Paul Smedberg
The Alexandria City Council
Jackie Henderson
The Alexandria City Council
Rob Krupicka
The Alexandria City Council
Linda Owens
The Alexandria City Council
Elizabeth Jones
Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia
William Euille
The Alexandria City Council
Alicia Hughes

Shut down convenience store on 809 Pendleton Street

    1. K. C.
    2. Petition by

      K. C.

      Alexandria, VA

We, the undersigned, are residents of Old Town, Alexandria. We live in the neighborhood surrounding the convenience store at 809 Pendleton Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314. We hereby petition City Council to have the relevant City departments institute the necessary proceedings to revoke the business license and all other City permits and licenses, and permanently close the store due to the nefarious activities it is bringing into the neighborhood.

The public record and the experience of neighbors clearly establish that the store has become a public nuisance, as well as a locus of significant criminal activity. We believe its operation threatens the public health, safety and morals of the citizens of Alexandria, and undermines the substantial investment of time, money, and other resources that the City, its citizens, and members of the business community have made in the northwest Old Town area.

The convenience store is a locus of criminal activity. On Thursday, August 9, 2012, police raided the store and adjacent residence and discovered a cache of stolen goods. The raid and arrests have been well-documented in the press. According to the press reports, the store was allegedly dealing in stolen property from break-ins and other burglaries occurring in Rosemont and Old Town. Press reports since the raid indicate that store was also allegedly engaging in illegal trafficking of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and therefore was removed from Virginia’s food stamp program. Statements the police and neighbors made to the press during the August 9 raid are telling:

"People would either steal from cars or property, bring the property here to this location and give them money for the stolen items," says Dep. Chief Cleveland Spruill of the Alexandria Police Department.

Neighbor Corinne Marlowe says “the store police raided has been a nuisance since it opened, but [I] had no idea it may have been at the center of a criminal enterprise.”

In addition to being a front for stolen property, the store appears to facilitate drug use and sales. The store sells paraphernalia such as rolling papers, incense, “blunts,” pipes, and bongs. Neighbors have witnessed “meetings” that appear to be drug transactions occurring right outside the store. The City and neighbors worked hard against the establishment of an open-air drug market near James Bland – as well as the closure of the nearby Day Labor Agency - it would be a shame to see those efforts thwarted and a drug market and public nuisance established only blocks away.

Besides promoting drug use and theft, the store has been a nuisance in many other ways as well. Press reports indicate that the Fire Marshall recently shut down the store for code violations. Neighbors have also witnessed public urination on the side of the building, and excessive noise and trash accumulation around the store.

The situation is not only tragic, it’s ironic. When the store opened, it advertised itself as an organic grocery store. The ruse was so convincing, the operator persuaded Planning & Zoning to grandfather the store and regulate it as a “grocery” rather than a “convenience” store, which would have required a more demanding Special Use Permit. Only after obtaining the necessary City approvals did the owner’s intentions become clear – the store applied for and received an ABC license, and then it began selling the drug paraphernalia, which subsequently escalated to fencing stolen property and trafficking in stolen food stamps. The fact that the store keeps a few rotten bananas and other spoiled fruit around does not negate the owner’s intent to operate a very, very different business – a criminal enterprise, in fact. The owner’s actions clearly demonstrate, in our minds, an absence of any concern for the health, safety, and welfare of the community and its system of laws.

Accordingly, we petition City Council to revoke the business license and all other City permits and licenses, and permanently close the store.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. The fight's not over.

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      Please continue to circulate this petition! We may not see near-term results, but you can definitely see change through your vote:

      ALEXANDRIA MAYORAL & CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES' FORUM

      Be an Informed Voter!

      Tuesday, October 2, 2012

      7:00 p.m.

      George Washington Middle School

      1005 Mount Vernon Avenue

      Mayoral Candidates: Bill Euille (D) debates Andrew Macdonald (I)

    2. What you can do

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      Several area residents met with city officials Tuesday night and they promised to keep investigating and looking at options. They also will support neighborhood efforts to revoke the store’s ABC license. But there are many legal hurdles and it likely would take many months maybe even a couple of years to close the store.

      City officials dismissed contentions that crime is a problem; reiterated that nuisances such as noise, theft, litter, vandalism, etc. are not good but to a great extent are just city life.

      They did stress that if you witness or are victim of a crime, call police ASAP and have an officer fill out an incident report so that all problems are properly documented (you can handle the report by phone to avoid being seen by those you accuse).

      Of course, this is an election year. If you're unhappy with how your city officials are handling issues that matter to you, make a change with your vote.

    3. Reached 100 signatures
    4. City Council Discussion of Store

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      If you fast forward to 1:49:30 in the 9/11 Council Meeting video, there's a lengthy discussion about the store. Here's the video:

      http://alexandria.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2228

    5. Share the e-petition

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      We've come a long way, but still have a long way to go. Keep up the momentum by forwarding along the petition to your fellow neighbors, tweeting, sharing on FB, and talking about this issue with folks who live in your area.

    6. Challenges to Revoking the Liquor License

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      Special Agent in Charge Coryn Snyder of the Virginia ABC's Alexandria Office says a license could be revoked if the neighbors show cause to the ABC Board that any basis now exists for which the license could have been originally refused had such fact been known at the time. She referenced Virginia code section 4.1-225(5).

      She also suggested that the neighbors begin to gather the necessary evidence and provide it to her. After she ensures that it's adequate, she will request a revocation hearing and the process would move forward.

      The store's owner says the drug paraphernalia has been removed, but if you go to the store and see anything suspect, please send Snyder pictures.

      Coryn Snyder
      Assistant Special Agent in Charge
      (703)313-4432 ext. 01536
      Fax (703)313-4444
      coryn.snyder@abc.virginia.gov

    7. Revoking the store's liquor license

      K. C.
      by K. C.
      Petition Organizer

      There are efforts underway to revoke the store's liquor license. Here are the ABC codes for when a store may have its license revoked. The store falls into at least 5 of the categories: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?000+cod+4.1-225

    8. Reached 50 signatures
    9. Decision-maker Rose Boyd responds:

      Rose Boyd

      Please be advised that the City has received the petition and we are exploring our options. It would be helpful if one of you would give me a call so that I have your contact information to follow-up.


    10. Reached 25 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Sharon Annear ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      I don't support having criminals in residential neighborhoods

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kristen Nespoli ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      How can a city that prides itself on being one of the best communities for young people (http://alexandriava.gov/news_display.aspx?id=64986) turn a blind eye to an establishment that has fenced stolen property, sells "smoking" paraphernalia, and has engaged in illegal trafficking while surrounded by young residents and playgrounds?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carolyn Laver ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      Crime, Crime, Crime.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bert Todd ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      It is Always a mess Chicken bones, pizza boxes, trash left, out

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sean ORourke ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      If you can't follow the rules and defraud my tax dollars, time to go!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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