Evanston’s site plan committee voted unanimously this afternoon against a request from 7-Eleven Inc. to operate its store at 2536 Ewing Ave. 24 hours a day.


But the committee voted to support the special use request needed to continue the store’s operation after its purchase by 7-Eleven as part of its acquisition of the White Hen convenience store chain.

The vote came after two neighbors — Charles Barkling of 2923 Lincoln St. and Jim Hughes of 2518 Hartzell Ave. — spoke against the plan, saying the store was far too close to nearby homes to justify all-night operation.

The neighbors said they appreciate having the store nearby, and don’t mind that it is currently open until midnight, but feared problems with noise and loitering if it stayed open later.


Interim Community Development Director Dennis Marino said he thinks the existing midnight closing hour “is a little late as is.”

And Zoning Director Bill Dunkley said he had received many calls and letters from neighbors, all opposing 24-hour operation.

The proposal now goes to the Zoning Board of Appeals and ultimately will require action by the City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Demand for late hours
    Jim Hughes , who is mentioned in the article, posted an article about this issue on the site of the anti-development group Central Street Neighbors Association.
    I found the following sentences from Hughes’ article to be interesting:

    The City of Evanston Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee (SPARC) today voted unanimously against recommending the application for 24 hour operation by the 7-Eleven at 2536 Ewing. It currently is open 6am to 12 am.
    7-Eleven representatives stated they felt there was demand. However, no data was presented.

    So, if I understand correctly, 7-Eleven believes that there is demand, and they are willing to risk the money to keep the store open the extra six hours. If there is not sufficient demand to justify keeping the store open, then 7-Eleven will be losing money .
    Why does anyone think that 7-Eleven needs to present evidence of demand to the Plan and Appearance Review Committee? Why does SPARC or CSNA have any business inquiring about ‘demand’?
    I really think that the CSNA people don’t understand how market economies work. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t have to prove to the government or the local busybodies that there is ‘demand’ for their product. If you poke around the CSNA website, you will see that they believe that everything needs to be planned. How many people will Evanston have? Will the 7-11 stay open past midnight?
    I wonder, how many coffee places does the CSNA think that Evanston needs? Do we really need Peet’s, Unicorn, Starbucks, Panera, Cosi, etc. all competing with each other ? Should the planning committee decide how many coffee shops we have? Did Argo demonstrate that there was sufficient demand for their store before they were permitted to open?
    And do we need a Barnes & Noble AND a Borders? Is there sufficient demand? Maybe the planning committee can decide for us, how many bookstores do we need, and which books they will sell.
    And how many Thai/Chinese restaurants? There seem to be quite a few of them, and really I prefer Italian. Maybe the CSNA and SPARC can decide how many restaurants we need, and what they will have on their menu, and what will be the soup du jour next Tuesday.
    Or could we just let all of these companies fight it out and let the market decide? I guess not, because the people cannot be trusted to make their own choices.

    1. Peace and quiet
      Hi, Who …
      I get the argument about over-planning.

      But the key issue here not whether there is demand for late-night hours.

      It is that this poorly designed commercial property is uncommonly close to single family homes. Given that the business, so located, managed to run successfully for years without operating from midnight to 6 a.m., what’s unreasonable about expecting the new owners to continue to be closed during those hours as an accommodation to their neighbors?

      — Bill

      1. peace and quiet
        BIll –

        You are right, the key issue is not whether there is demand for late-night hours.

        My point is – it shouldn’t have even been brought up. Why is that a concern for the SPARC, or City Council, or CSNA? Why do they need to know if there is demand for late-night hours, and why do they care? Why did Mr. Hughes even mention it?

        City government should not concern itself with whether there is demand for a certain product or service.

    2. Mr Who – you should stop worrying about Central Street and—
      Mr Who ( IHOP) you should stop worrying about Central Street and start to be concerned about what the council is doing – it appears to me they are about to effect you and your condo – they are going to be selecting who you can use for trash pick up – I have not followed this issue – maybe you should — if you are concerned about government in your life?

      You better get down to the council and tell them what you think – ofcourse it might be difficult to speak if you are afraid to be seen in public? All kidding aside – you should be concern since it is likely you and those that live in condos will end up paying more —

      Also more bad news tonight – 5 million more to the pension problem – the council members were worrying but still mismanaging – and not holding the line on cost – at the end they went off into executive session.

      1. $5 million for what
        Junad — don’t tease us like that. what was the additional $5 miilion for in the “pension problem”? is this a recalculation of the balance for the police and fire pension? or is this a result of the additional numbers of city staff that took the early retirement option? and who provided the increased estimates?

  2. 24 hr. store has no place in residential neighborhood
    I applaud the decision to reject a 24 store in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I live a few blocks away from the store and would not be happy about additional traffic and noise caused by shoppers in the middle of the night. The property was properly zoned for more limited hours given the nature of the neighborhood.

    The demand discussion is simply irrelevant to this point.

    1. Too good for 7-11 up there?
      Interesting… there’s a 24 hour 7-11 on Dodge South of Main right around the corner from single family homes.

      So, it’s good enough for the people down here, but not for you up on Central Street?

      You guys worried about a few drunk college kids?

      Trust me, I’d trade you our gangs for your drunk college kids any day of the week.

      As much noise as you make about zoning, it strikes me that you guys are really out of touch with those of us not privileged enough to live in your neighborhood.

      1. 24 hours stores do not belong in any residential neighborhood

        My opposition to a 24 hour 7-11 in a residential neighborhood off Central Street does not mean I support one in your residential neighborhood. This issue is not a question of “us guys” versus “you guys”; we all live in Evanston. If zoning was changed to allow a 24 hour store in your neighborhood, I would expect that you advocated against such a change.


        1. Not the Same Evanston
          No, that’s exactly the point. We all live in Evanston, but we do not all live in the same Evanston.

          Will you worry about gang violence when you go to sleep tonight?

          Pardon us if we take offense to your zoning issues. From where we sit, you have it pretty good up there. Any reason we shouldn’t expect to live in peace down here? Any reason we aren’t entitled to feel safe in our own homes, or walking down the street?

          Or is that my fault too? It sounds like I just didn’t do enough to stop our own 7-11 from going 24/7.

          All the time, effort, and city resources devoted to these zoning issues… I think that time and effort, and those resources, could be put to better use.


      2. Do you really need a 24-hr 7-11
        If it’s good enough for the North side of Evanston, then maybe the 7/11 at Main and Dodge should close at midnight as well. That way there is consistency in the community and one less place for the gangbangers to hang out and wreak havoc.

  3. Demand for Late Hours at 7-11
    I attended the SPAARC meeting. No one on the city panel, nor those who spoke in opposition, raised the matter of customer demand as an issue. It was mentioned by the 7-11 people that they had talked to their customers who asked that they remain open after midnight. They presented no data to support this comment. But you’re right that it was a non-issue as far as the city was concerned. It was the 7-11 reps who mentioned it, and no one else at the meeting commented upon the demand. It was not relevant to their request. Mr. Hughes reported accurately that the 7-11 reps gave customer demand as their reason for seeking the extra hours. You should direct your venom at the 7-11 reps who brought it up and not at Mr. Hughes who reported it.

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