May 9-16, 2007
By ANDY HART, The Hartford News Staff Writer
After hearing numerous complaints from community organizations and individuals over the years, City Councilmen Calixto Torres and Jim Boucher have drawn up an ordinance that would require convenience stores, mini-marts and other small shops to get a permit if they want to remain open between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am.
The ordinance was introduced during a press conference at Hartford City Hall Monday afternoon. There will be a public hearing on ordinance on Monday, May 21. City Council is expected to vote on the measure on Tuesday, May 29.
Torres, Chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said the ordinance reflects the Council’s desire to balance the rights of store owners and those who work late and have trouble getting to stores during regular business hours against numerous city residents who believe many of the all-night stores have become public nuisances and centers of criminal activity.
To illustrate the problem, Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts presented a map showing the city’s many convenience stores and highlighting the 25 that have generated the most calls to police.
The permit to remain open between 10 pm and 5 am will cost $100. In addition, to obtain the permit, store owners must meet several requirements designed to enhance safety for store employees, customers and neighbors. These requirements include safety cameras, a drop safe to limit employee access to large amounts of cash, fully lit parking lots, a conspicuous notice indicating that the cash register contains no more than $50, a limit on window signs so that store personnel can better monitor activity outside the store and a silent alarm.
The ordinance will not apply to larger food stores and shops or restaurants.