St. Pete passes rules for convenience store security

03/05/09 Seán Kinane and Ann Tihansky
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Because of a rash of robberies, the St. Pete City Council passed two ordinances this morning requiring convenience stores to increase security measures.

The ordinances apply both to small mom-and-pop convenience stores as well as chain convenience stores. They are now required to have an illuminated parking lot, a silent alarm and other measures listed by City Council member Karl Nurse.

Nurse says a second level of security would be triggered if a store is robbed once the ordinances are in place.

Asian American Convenience Store Association board member Sid Shah spoke in favor of what he called the “good” convenience store security ordinances, with one modification. As written, they require any stores that get robbed to have two employees working after 9 pm and install a bulletproof enclosure. Shah says that burden might lead to stores not reporting robberies.

Council member Wengay Newton argued against changing the requirement from 9 pm until 11 pm because he fears for the safety of convenience store patrons.

But Sid Shah with the Asian American Convenience Store Association says the city should also be concerned about people who work in the stores.

City Council agreed to change the time requirement from 9 pm until 11 pm. Wengay Newton was the only dissenting vote.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, City Council agreed to a land-use change for the section of land they annexed on Tierra Verde in November. The county zoning on the land did not allow condominiums, but St. Petersburg City Council approved a land-use change allowing up to 415 multifamily residential units on that barrier island. The change also increases the amount of commercial space allowed. Herb Polson was the lone vote against the land-use change; he was one of two council members to vote against the annexation.

WMNF coverage of Tierra Verde annexation

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