On September 22, 2003 the Syracuse Common Council unanimously passed legislation creating a city business license for corner stores and bars operating in the city. The license, called a Certificate of Use, also requires the owners of the business to run a clean operation that does not threaten the health and safety of its neighbors.
The new law becomes part of the city’s existing Nuisance Abatement ordinance. The law creates a point system for violations of the city’s Property Code, quality of life violations (trash, noise, loitering) and being the site of arrests and convictions for more serious drug and weapons offenses. If a business collects enough violations, the business can have their certificate of use revoked for up to a year.
Syracuse United Neighbors has been fighting for this legislation for over a year. SUN collected commitments from 9 common councilors to support this legislation at a series of meetings held with neighborhood residents in 2002 and 2003. This summer, several working meetings with SUN members, the police, Code Enforcement and city attorneys were convened by Councilor Kate O’Connell in her role as chair of the Council’s Public Safety committee. SUN salutes her hard work and dedication to our neighborhoods.
Many corner stores and bars have become one-stop crime stores. They sell little more than alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. The more enterprising sell hot foods to the crowds of drug dealers loitering on the corner and in their parking lots.
The corner stores and bars in our neighborhoods play a leading role in the crime ravaging the south and near-west sides of the city. Before police raided and closed the store in May, Ariel’s Market on the corner of Ontario and Otisco streets was the site of a cocaine and heroin ring netting over $100,000 of sales per week. Bo’s Place, a bar near the corner of S. Salina and Lafayette Ave., was the site of this summer’s most recent gang-related murder.
The certificate of use is SUN’s strong message to those businesses that do not recognize their obligation to their neighbors–Clean Up Or We’ll Close You Down!