There are more than 160 names in support of Epic Stop In, a convenience store in Southeast Roanoke. New co-owner Adam Elsayed hopes these pages of signatures are enough for city council to lift restrictions on his business.
Elsayed says he wants to sell alcohol here, but can't, because in 2002, the former building owner wanted to rezone this property from residential to commercial. People in this neighborhood were against it because they were concerned about the crime rate. In order to get approved, there had to be restrictions, such as not selling alcohol.
Ian Shaw, a planning administrator for the city of Roanoke, says now, more than 10 years later, neighbors haven't changed their minds.
"There's definitely been a lot of opposition, mainly with concern with the alcohol impact in the neighborhood and drug activity," Shaw says. "Those are the two things we've been hearing from citizens."
In 2005, the city rezoned the area in hopes of building a village center of shops and restaurants. Because of that rezoning, stores in certain lots are able to open without conditions. After learning businesses across the street don't have conditions, Elsayed hopes that fact, along with the signatures, will convince city council to give him the same rules to follow.