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Camden mayor to impose business curfew Sep. 17

A year after enacting a business curfew, Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd is setting Sept. 17 as the first day the citywide curfew will be implemented.

After much delay, Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd is setting Sept. 17 as the first day the citywide business curfew will be implemented.

The city will soon be sending out letters and posting fliers notifying affected businesses of the new regulation of hours of operation.

The curfew ordinance, intended to help curb crime, was enacted on Sept. 19, 2011. It requires businesses in residential zones or within 200 feet of a residential zone to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekends. The curfew does not apply to pharmacies or businesses holding liquor licenses or selling fuel.

City activist Frank Fulbrook, along with operators of some late-night businesses, filed a lawsuit against the curfew last fall. A few months later, 7-Eleven Inc., which has two stores in Camden, filed a similar lawsuit against the city. Both lawsuits were combined and a pretrial hearing was scheduled for Aug. 15 but it was postponed until Oct. 2, said Fulbrook's attorney John Calzaretto.

"To date, the City of Camden has refrained from the enforcement of the ordinance and therefore a restraining order is not presently being pursued," Calzaretto said in an e-mail last week.

The enforcement will come just as a new 7-Eleven, Subway, and Three Chiles Grill are scheduled to open on the ground floor of the new Rutgers-Camden residence hall on Cooper Street.

7-Eleven is hoping to be open 24 hours and is not withdrawing its suit.

Still, said, company spokesman Scott Drake in an e-mail: "We will fully comply with all current ordinances regarding operating hours in Camden as we do in many other areas. … We happen to know from our experience that our guests have needs that span all 24 hours of the day, so it is our preference."