SAN MATEO -- The City Council delivered a major victory to a group of impassioned neighbors Monday night when it voted unanimously to shut down a 7-Eleven that opened last month in San Mateo Heights.

The council decided the store, which replaced an Italian deli that closed in 2010, is not a legal nonconforming use of the property at 501 N. San Mateo Drive, which is zoned for residential purposes. The deli had been grandfathered in, since the site's use as a market predated the city's zoning laws.

Attorneys for 7-Eleven and property owner Portfolio Development Partners said they may sue to overturn the council's decision, which came after several months of controversy.


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"It isn't over," said attorney Dick Givens, who represents the property owner, "and there's going to be subsequent proceedings."

The convenience store is now in violation of San Mateo zoning regulations, City Attorney Shawn Mason said late Monday night. It's unclear how long the process of closing the business will take. Stephen Jamieson, attorney for 7-Eleven, said the company, if it appeals the council's decision in court, could seek a restraining order to keep the store open until a final legal decision is reached.

The council voted 4-0 to concur with each of the neighbor's several arguments against the store, overturning a recommendation from city planners and attorneys who approved the project in February. The 7-Eleven represents an intensification of the use of the property, the council found, and the 18-month gap between the deli's closure and the new market's approval by staff should have precluded it from opening.


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Emily Slichter, a representative for the neighbors, said she was "obviously very happy" with the council's decision.

"I think in this case we had the added benefit of having the law and the facts on our side," she said.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.