Residents complain unsightly condition of US 1, store affecting neighborhood

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Daytona Beach residents and local store owners said not only is their neighborhood convenience store an eyesore, it's impacting their business.

"Welcome to Daytona, what do you see?" said Doug Lenz.

Loitering, littering and transients line the historical US 1, according to Lenz.

"We got a nightmare across the street. I've got prostitution, I've got drug dealing," he said.

Lenz owns Doug Lenz Auto Electric and said the problem is hurting him financially.

"Customers don't want to bring their cars down here. They want us to work on them but they don't want us to work on them here because of the location of what's happening across the street, and I understand," he said.

A food bank behind the convenience store feeds the homeless, who then stick around J Food Stores for hours. It's something John Anderson, homeowner and president of the Daytona Uptown Neighborhood Watch, wants to change.

"Why can't we get Ridgewood that gets government dollars to get cleaned up from Mason Avenue all the way down International Speedway and make it just as pretty as the rest of the city?" Anderson said.

Anderson said his group started petitions and went to planning and commissioner meetings, which he said helped a little but not enough. He said he's not blaming the homeless for the way US 1 looks, but that J Food Stores should take more responsibility in keeping up appearances.

Residents have also complained to the Daytona Beach Police Department. Officers handed out criminal trespass warnings but they can't do much else since J Food Stores owns part of that property.

Local 6 spoke with the manager of J Food Stores who didn't want to go on camera but said they don't allow people to hang out unless they purchase something. The manager also said they haven't heard of any illegal activity happening on their property.

In the meantime, the Daytona Uptown Neighborhood Watch will meet at 6 p.m. July 17 at Breham Baptist Church on Madison and Mulberry to brainstorm other ways to clean up US 1. The meeting is open to the public.

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