- Concern over bones from chicken wings has caused on ANC to protest 7-11.
Citing ongoing concerns over the potential for problematic discarded chicken wing bones, ANC 6A voted Thursday to appeal the District's decision to grant a certificate of occupancy to a new 7-11 location at 957 H Street NE.
The move comes after several months of negotiations between the ANC and 7-11 officials. While franchisee Bob Martz did agree not to sell single cigars, he drew the line at chicken wings, telling 6A's Economic Development and Zoning committee that he'd be happy to convert to the boneless variety once they become widely available (a timeframe he told the committee would be only a few months), but that in the meantime, he intends to sell the boned variety, regardless of the ANC's concerns.
Since the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has already granted 7-11 a certificate of occupancy, the ANC is formally appealing that decision and asking the Board of Zoning Adjustment to force the convenience store to reapply for a fast food establishment license, a process which would require a special exception from the board.
The concept hinges on the idea that 7-11 has drastically changed its business model in recent years, with an increased focus on prepared foods like pizza slices, hot dogs, nachos, etc. In a draft letter to the BZA, the ANC argues that based on its own observations, the store far exceeds the 15 percent threshold for sales of fast food items in order for it be considered a fast food establishment.
Commissioner Nick Alberti (6A04) pointed out that should the appeal prove successful, it could very well set a precedent for other stores in the city. "7-11's haven't really operated this way in the past," Alberti says. "If in fact 7-11 is doing this, this may be of interest to other neighborhoods." Indeed, there are 11 other new 7-11's planned inside the District, as the City Paper recently reported.
Margaret Chabris, a spokesperson for 7-11, acknowledges that the chain's stores have recently become, as she puts it, "more consistent" in terms of their fast food offerings, but still contends its main business is as a convenience store. She asked to have her government affairs staff review the ANC's complaint before commenting further.
In its committee report, ANC6A describes the threat of chicken bones as including "attracting vermin, such as squirrels and rats, and also causing neighborhood dogs to choke."
"Wings and pizza have just become so, so popular, customers really really like it," Chablis says. "If there is a problem with trash, that's certainly something I'm going to share with my market manager."