They sit on corners of Hollywood’s main thoroughfares, stocked with the necessities: milk, diapers and late-night snacks.
And while acknowledging convenience stores can be a “life-line,’’ Hollywood’s city leaders say too many bring neighborhoods down.
On Wednesday, they voted to approve a new law limiting how many can open within city limits, and what the stores would have to do before opening.
“I think this is a classic case of early intervention before this spins out of control,” said Mayor Peter Bober. “A lot of these places do not take care of their properties at all.”
The convenience store law was one of five zoning changes which received preliminary approval at Wednesday’s commission meeting. The commission also:
• Paved the way for a new Goodwill Superstore at 2420 N. Dixie Hwy.
• Approved for a new McDonald’s to be built at 2851 Sheridan St.
• Eased up on signage requirements for some businesses along Sheridan Street.
• Made it easier for planned development projects in the beach and downtown districts.
All of the zoning items will have to be given final approval at the commission’s first meeting in January.
“It’s a great buffet,” Jaye Epstein, director of planning and development, said of the zoning approvals.
The new zoning rule means convenience stores need to be 2,500 feet from each other and will require new stores to have entrances facing the main street, clear windows and not allow products to be sold outside.
Andria Wingett, the assistant director of planning and development services, said Hollywood has 84 convenience stores — which include gas pumps and specialty stores — but if the national average based on population were applied, the city would have only 67.
While the new rule does not apply to the city’s current convenience stores, commissioners said code enforcement needs to step up.
“The main issue is to clean up what we have,” said Commissioner Patricia Asseff. “Don’t we start there?”
The idea to regulate convenience stores came from the mayor.
“We should be using our authority up here to try to create neighborhoods that are not going to cater to these types of businesses,” Bober said.