No Siesta, Close The Fiesta!

On February 14th, 20 SUN leaders visited Mayor Matt Driscoll in his City Hall office. This was not a typical Valentine’s Day affair, SUN demanded that the Mayor earn his gift. SUN wants the city to close the Fiesta Market (317 S. Geddes St.) under the city’s Nuisance Abatement law. SUN also wants the city to evict a junk-collecting tenant at a property (328 Midland Ave.) that the city declared unfit for habitation in May 2004.

SUN was forced to make its
surprise visit because of no progress made by the city departments responsible for these problems–the Law Department for Fiesta Market and the Division of Code Enforcement for 328 Midland Ave.

Despite 12 arrests for drug sales on its property, and an agreement with the city to hire private security and install cameras to monitor its parking lot, the Fiesta has made no effort to clean up its act. In fact, in the time after the store’s agreement with the city, the store has been the site of an arrest for underage sales. At the time of this arrest, drugs were found on the property.

Code Enforcement had towed out massive amounts of junk from the property at 328 Midland after SUN held a meeting on the problem in May 2004. The house, which has had no running water since 2000, was declared unfit at that time. However, the tenant continued to live there and collect more junk–cars, refrigerators and other large size appliances.

SUN held another meeting in February with the director of Code Enforcement Jim Blakeman and area residents. When confronted with pictures of what residents are calling Blakeman’s Blooper, SUN was informed that there was nothing Code Enforcement could do about the tenant and Code would not resume towing out junk in the winter.

After SUN’s visit at noon, Code Enforcement was called into an emergency meeting with the Mayor and towing of junk resumed that afternoon. Code Enforcement also spoke directly with the absentee landlord and reached an agreement for the landlord to start eviction proceedings.

Later that same afternoon, the city’s Police Chief issued the order to close the Fiesta Market within business 5 days. The store appealed the order to the state’s Appellate division and the case will be heard on February 28th in Rochester.

Oh, SUN’s Valentine gift to the mayor? Two big sheets of plywood to board up the problem properties. Practical AND Thoughtful!

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