Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Shida residents hoping for nighttime peace

NOISY NEIGHBORS:Following a protest against illegally sited eateries last year, local residents are hoping for alcohol sales restrictions to curb late-night drinking in the area

By Weng Lu-huang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Daan District Office (大安區公所) in Taipei hopes to persuade convenience stores around Shida Park (師大公園) to inconvenience late-night customers by stopping sales of alcohol after a certain time, the police said yesterday.

According to the district office, a number of local residents had complained of noise — sometimes lasting into the early hours of the morning — coming from people, including students from the nearby university, drinking in the park late at night and disturbing the peace.

In 2011, members of the local community had made a similar complaint, this time targeting cafes and restaurants in the Shida Night Market, saying that the commercial area had spilled over into what was officially a residential area, seriously impacting their quality of living.

The protest resulted in the Taipei City Government cracking down on illegally sited stores that violated land-use regulations which state that roads less than 6m wide in residential areas cannot be used for commercial purposes.

After fines were issued some stores closed down or relocated, leading to a decrease in customer and tourist numbers.

The director of the local residents’ self-help association, Liu Cheng-wei (劉振偉), said that the nearby Shida Park was also affected by anti-social behavior, and that this was just an element of a larger problem, adding that community residents often wake up in the morning to find the park in a shambolic state, filled with empty bottles, empty plates and littered with other trash.

The district office and the police precinct in the area started organizing patrols at the end of last year, telling those in the park to be quieter or to leave the park.

Community patrols said that drinkers usually obtained their alcohol from nearby FamilyMart and 7-Eleven convenience stores.

As a result, the district office said it has issued the two convenience stores with an official notice requesting that they place restrictions on sales of alcoholic beverages from 10pm to 6am.

In response, President Chain Store Corp public relations director Chuang Ching-ju (莊靜如) said it would be difficult for selected 7-Eleven branches to restrict certain merchandise at set times.

Compliance with the request would cause too great an impact on logistics and supply, Chuang said, adding that as the company has not yet received an official notice in writing, it would not be making further comment on the matter.

FamilyMart public relations director Lin Tsui-chuan (林翠娟) said that the main obstacle barring the company from complying with the wishes of the community was legally related.

FamilyMart has contracts with many local branches that state that no particular merchandise should be banned from sale without reason, Lin said.

Therefore, Lin said that while the company fully complies with legal restrictions, such as the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors under the age of 18, it would be very difficult for any industry to selectively comply with specific requirements in different locales.

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