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Regional News

City of Syracuse says corner stores cause trouble, cracks down yet again

As summer approaches, the city of Syracuse is again cracking down on a sector that's caused trouble in low-income neighborhoods in the past, corner stores.

City hall’s crackdown on corner stores is meant to curb what Mayor Stephanie Miner has in the past called a scourge in many neighborhoods -- corner stores that have health and safety issues, leading to neighborhood complaints.

Ken Towsley, head of code enforcement, says the city recently tightened up codes required for corner store business licenses. In the past week, the city made surprise visits to check on compliance.

“A couple of the stores we did close immediately," Towsley says. "One for major code violations; the other one for being unlawfully occupied, which means they didn’t have their certificate of use, and were not following the rules and regulations of the city.”

The latest crackdown involved nine stores, most in the city’s south and near westside neighborhoods.  This follows a similar crackdown two years ago. In a news release Miner says the city is seeing "fewer major violations than in past enforcement efforts" and that it’s a sign the strategy is working.

Stores with violations found in recent compliance visits:

South Mini Mart, 2621 Midland Avenue, was closed immediately due to their failure to obtain a Certificate of Use. They have applied and been inspected for a Certificate but it has been denied. They have not addressed major violations found in the Certificate of Use inspection process. They are not in compliance with their Special Permit. Exit doors were found padlocked. The Division of Code Enforcement had sent them letters for initial violations and also for failure to obtain a Certificate of Use. The owners have not set up an administrative hearing to address their Certificate of Use compliance. The store was declared legally unfit.

Sedra Market, 901 South Geddes Street, had multiple major violations including inoperable smoke detectors, missing exit signs, pooled sewage in the basement, open venting of carbon monoxide in basement, dumpster screening, trash/debris in basement and storage area, and open electrical. During the inspection, the business owner could not produce a liquor license or a Certificate of Use, despite the fact one had been issued for the store. The store was declared unfit and closed.

J&B Market, 409 Bellevue Avenue, had minor fire, electrical, and codes issues. The store also needs plumbing equipment added and they have been 30 days to correct that issue.

South Avenue Mini Mart, 1500 South Avenue, had minor fire, electrical, codes, and plumbing issues. Points will be added to their current Certificate of Use due to their failed inspection.

Bodega 315, 315 Cortland Avenue, had minor fire, electrical, codes, and plumbing issues and must apply for a Certificate of Use.

NA Market, 941 Midland Avenue, no violations were found but they must apply for a Certificate of Use within seven days.

Sabatino’s, 1000 South Geddes Street, had minor violations including hood cleaning and dumpster screening. They are required to apply for a Certificate of Use and were cited on June 8 for not having one.

Auntie’s, 600 South Geddes Street, had minor violations including hood cleaning, damaged receptacles, and issues with extension cords. They are required to apply for a Certificate of Use.

Stop One Food Market, 315 South Geddes Street, had minor violations, the hood needed cleaning, the electrical room needed to be cleared out, and it had issues with dumpster screening.