Loring Park neighbors tussle with SA over hours

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January 24, 2005 // UPDATED 1:51 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Loring Park's SuperAmerica, 101 W. Grant St., is pushing for a conditional-use permit from the city to stay open 24 hours.

Steve Plunkett, an attorney representing the gas station, said hundreds of customers have signed a petition pushing for the longer hours. "The response has been overwhelming," he said.

Meanwhile, several nearby residents are opposed to the business' open-all-the-time proposal. The Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC) Livability Committee has passed a motion opposing SuperAmerica's request. The CLPC board of directors is expected to take up the motion at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Plunkett said SuperAmerica is working to schedule a meeting with neighborhood leaders to talk about the concerns.

"We want to meet with them face-to-face and have a discussion about their concerns," he said.

The neighborhood group's motion was prompted by complaints that the longer hours will draw more criminal activity to the area. Some residents have observed a drop in livability crime since the reduction in hours.

The gas station operated as a 24-hour business for 13 years before city officials discovered SA lacked a permit and requested a reduction in hours last fall, Plunkett said. It is currently open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-1 a.m., and on weekends, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

Patricia Joy, an SA customer service representative, said Downtown cab and limo drivers have pushed for the longer hours.

She said they rely on the gas station to fill up late at night and grab some coffee and cigarettes. "They don't want to have to drive out of the area," Joy said.

Joy dismissed concerns that longer hours will attract more criminal activity. She said though this location has had problems with livability crime, recent management changes at the Super America have improved conditions there.

"There is zero tolerance for loitering," Joy said.