Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey tightens rules on convenience stores amid complaints of loitering

NEW PORT RICHEY — The City Council has tightened up its rules governing convenience stores so it could include a business in the heart of New Port Richey that police say has been drawing complaints from residents.

On Tuesday, council members voted unanimously to change the city's ordinance mandating security requirements at all overnight convenience stores in the city. That now includes the Main Street Food Mart.

The ordinance previously required certain security measures for stores that derive at least 50 percent of their gross sales from gasoline. But the food mart doesn't sell gas, so it was exempt. The amendment now extends the safety requirements to stores that are open overnight but don't sell gas.

New Port Richey police Chief James Steffens who sought the change, said a growing number of young people began gathering in the area around the Food Mart, including suspected gang members.

Steffens said the change will not only protect store employees, but also police officers responding to calls for service, which occur almost daily at Main Street Food Mart.

"We're ready to roll," he said of his plans for enforcement of the change.

The ordinance requires convenience stores to have "window signage that allows a clear and unobstructed view from outside the building and in a normal line of sight of the cash register and sales transaction area."

Also, stores must have security cameras, a drop safe, lighting standards and a "conspicuous sign" in front that states the cash register contains less than $50, according to the ordinance.

Steffens said Wednesday code enforcement began seeking compliance with the new ordinance. It will be coupled with a continued increased police presence at Main Street Food Mart, as well as at a bus stop on a corner adjacent to the store that has been a spot where youths have been loitering around the clock, Steffens said.

On Tuesday, council members praised the change. Among them was Bob Langford, who said he has seen a marked reduction in loitering at the bus stop near the store since the recent increased police presence in the area.

Other council members didn't name Main Street Food Mart specifically, but referenced trouble at a local business, with hopes that problems will be curtailed by the ordinance change.

"I hate that place," said council member Ginny Miller.

Food Mart manager Vinny Kandi said the store took down signs city officials requested and already had security cameras. He pledged to support the police.

"We've been here for 15 years," he said. "We love the people. We love the cops. We can't do anything about what people do off our property."

New Port Richey tightens rules on convenience stores amid complaints of loitering 01/04/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 6:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again


    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  3. What you need to know for Monday, Sept. 25


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Craig Butz, executive director of Pepin Academies and former professional hockey player, died in a crash with a boat Saturday. His daughter Teagan, 4, remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TIMES, 2013]
  4. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.