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7-Eleven sues Huntington Town over zoning

A 7-Eleven convenience store along William Floyd Parkway

A 7-Eleven convenience store along William Floyd Parkway in Shirley where the manager learned about his employees for "Undercover Boss." (Feb. 2, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin, 2010

The retail giant 7-Eleven has taken aim at the Town of Huntington, arguing in a lawsuit that an ordinance placing restrictions on some convenience stores goes too far.

The suit, filed Oct. 7 in Suffolk County Supreme Court, challenges a law the town board passed in June that placed additional restrictions on new applications for stand-alone convenience stores.

The retailer claims the town didn’t have the authority to impose the restrictions, which include minimum lot sizes, a buffer between the store site and residential areas, and an off-street loading space for trucks. The requirements do not apply to convenience stores in strip malls.

The new law “specifically targets 7-Eleven and fails to regulate other similar 24-hour businesses,” the suit alleges. In a statement issued Wednesday by 7-Eleven, the retailer said it “strongly believes that the Town of Huntington’s ordinance discriminates against convenience stores.”

Town officials vowed to defend the ordinance.

“We have regulations that really should lead the way on Long Island for how to fairly treat convenience stores and address the impacts they have on the surrounding communities,” Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who sponsored the law, said Wednesday.

Jim Matthews, an attorney for the town’s zoning board who helped draft the ordinance, said the town was not targeting 7-Eleven specifically and that the municipality is within its rights to regulate convenience stores.

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