UPDATE 11/18/2013 8:45 p.m. - Monday night, city council members in Roanoke heard both sides of a dispute over a new convenience store in Southeast, next to Andrew Jackson Middle School.
The owners of the Epic Stop-In pleaded for council to lift restrictions on alcohol sales placed on the property a decade ago, saying other stores on the street sell alcohol, why can't we?
Some neighbors voiced their concerns arguing one more convenience store selling alcohol would just lead to even more crime.
Council voted 6-0 with one absent to keep the restriction in place. The shop owner lost and the real problem for him is he already signed a five-year lease for the business.
The fight to sell alcohol continues for a new convenience store owner in Roanoke.
Epic Stop-In just opened up on the corner of 9th and Penmar Streets.
The owner wants to sell alcohol, like several other businesses do in that area, but he has to get approval from Roanoke City leaders first.
The Roanoke City Planning Commission met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the store owner's re-zoning application, but they voted five to one against the application.
Epic Stop-In hasn't even been open a month and it’s already hit a few road bumps.
WDBJ 7 first told you about the store after neighbors in Southeast Roanoke weren't happy that another convenience store would be opening in the area.
The resident told WDBJ 7 the last thing the neighborhood needed was another place selling alcohol and tobacco products.
Epic Stop-In owner Ahmed Elsayed has started a petition to gain support for the store. It currently has more than 130 signatures from people. They live near the store and are in favor of him selling alcohol.
Elsayed said he's just trying to make a living and has every intention of running his business lawfully.
"I'm not responsible about how people behave outside my store,” he said. “What I can guarantee is just I will obey the law which is I don't sell alcohol to those under age. I pay my taxes. I will keep my area around the store clean, safe and nobody simply hang around that will bother the neighborhood."
Elsayed has hired a lawyer to represent him in this situation because he feels like he is being discriminated against by some residents as well as the city. There are a handful of other convenience stores along 9th Street that currently sell alcohol and Elsayed said he won’t be able to compete with them if he can’t sell alcohol.
Now that the Roanoke City Planning Commission has made its recommendation the application will go to Roanoke City Council for a final vote.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7pm.