A plan to open a convenience store just east of Binghamton High School may not move forward because the business may not be allowed to sell tobacco products.

Four members of the city of Binghamton planning commission have expressed concern about a request to allow additional tobacco sales so close to the school.

Hamza Khan is seeking a special use permit to establish a retail food sales facility in an existing commercial building at 13 Main Street.

Khan discussed his proposed convenience store at Tuesday's planning commission meeting. He said the business would offer groceries and takeout food.

Khan envisions the place as a "one-stop shop for that side of Binghamton." He said there's a need for the business, noting that a nearby CVS store on Main Street has closed its doors.

The site of a proposed convenience store is located near Binghamton High School. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
The site of a proposed convenience store is located near Binghamton High School. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

The proposed store would be located less than 500 feet away from the high school. Nine years ago, city council banned tobacco sales so close to school district property.

Khan wants the planning commission to recommend that city council make an exception to the tobacco ban for his store. He said the revenue from such sales would be needed to cover his costs, included rent for the property.

Commission chair Nicholas Corcoran said "I think your plan is great" but he would not vote in favor of allowing tobacco sales. Three other commission members who were at the meeting also indicated they were against exempting the new store from the city law.

A public hearing on the proposed business is to be held next month.

Even if the planning commission votes not to allow tobacco sales at the store, the ultimate decision would rest with city council.

A Family Dollar store and two gas stations near the high school now sell cigarettes and other tobacco products. Those businesses were "grandfathered" in because they were operating before changes were made to the city code.

The location for the proposed store is on the southwest corner of Main and Front streets. The site has been idle since Walter's Shoe Store closed two decades ago.

Liam Burns acquired the property in 2014. He renovated the building with an eye toward turning it into a tavern. There's been no activity at the site over the past three years.

The vacant building at 13 Main Street is no longer boarded up. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
The former shoe store at 13 Main Street was renovated by the building's new owner in 2019. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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