Quality of Life Task Force Takes Steps to Address Health and Safety Issues at Buildings and Businesses

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Summary Judgement Resolution of Food Establishment Occupancy Issue Regarding Cup Cake Cutie

Richard Thomas, City of Mount Vernon Mayor and Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency Chairman.

MOUNT VERNON, NY — August 4, 2018  — Issues were raised regarding whether an establishment located at 8 South 6th Avenue had a “Certificate of Occupancy.” The answer was “No” and the subsequent action taken was to help them come into compliance. The owner/operators opted to resist and refuse all rules until their landlord explained to them that they were breaking the law. On behalf of the City, the building owner helped them realize that they were wrong and working with the city is the right decision to create a safe and healthy environment.

Fire Commissioner Teddy Beale said, “Often times when firemen go into fires to rescue people, sometimes the victim is disillusioned and refuses help. This is what happened at Cup Cake Cutie. We went to help and they turned hostile.

The Mount Vernon Quality of Life Task Force visited multiple establishments on Friday, August 3, 2018, finding numerous violations across multiple buildings. Cup Cake Cutie was one of those establishments, along with their next-door neighbor, who have some fire issues to be addressed.”

Buildings Commissioner Dan Jones advised, “The owners/operators of the establishment in question are allowed to open this Saturday and Sunday but must come into the Building Department on Monday to get in good standing with the Building Codes of the City of Mount Vernon.

Yesterday’s visit to the establishment, conducted as part of a city-wide sweep, raised several issues that were flagged and require immediate attention including a non-working smoke detector, no certificate of occupancy, and a certificate of tenancy that was expired for over two years. In addition to the issues at the food establishment, the sweep resulted in flagging the management company of a 497-unit apartment complex for non-working elevators and no hot water in parts of the complex.

The city looks forward to working with the owner/operator and the landlord to ensure the establishment follows proper procedure and is legalized, particularly as they serve food to the public.”

Background

In May 2016, Mayor Thomas established the Quality of Life Task Force to which is designed to identify and ticket landlords, business owners and contractors who operate illegally in the city or fail to maintain sanitary and safe conditions. The task force comprises of representatives from Police, Fire, Buildings, Law, and Public Works. You can read more about the task force here and here. The Quality of Life Task Force has been through similar flash points before, when it challenged OK Freddy’s on health and safety compliance issues. The owner at first resisted, but then realized it was the right decision to legalize their operation as the result confirms a stronger business.

On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, residents of Levister Towers asked Mayor Thomas to address building violations at Levister Towers. The Mayor asked the “Quality of Life Task Force” to conduct an inspections investigation at Levister Towers on Friday, August 3, 2018. They found numerous threats to health and human safety. As reported and corroborated, most elevators were not properly functioning and one building tower did not have hot water. These matters will be subject to immediate correction demands, violations and summons for management failures to cure health and safety threats to tenants.

On the same day, at approximately 1:00 PM, the group next stopped at several stores located at 8 South 6th Avenue and discovered that the “Temporary Certificate of Occupancy” was expired since 2016. Buildings Department staff went back to City Hall to determine whether they could help the small business. Buildings Commissioner Dan Jones was able to provide the business time to re-apply for a permit to operate and bring the space into code compliance for a Certificate of Occupancy. The Mayor was briefed on the matter and instructed staff to help Cup Cake Cutie to stay open. They returned to the establishment offering to help Cup Cake Cutie and was greeted with hateful outbursts, hostile posturing, and unlawful obstruction of government administration.

Based on the uncooperative uncooperative actions of the operators, a police presence was established to provide for a peaceful and orderly environment. The sudden turn of events caused Building Inspector Omundi Odera to consult the Law Department and Buildings Commissioner for additional guidance. The decision was to apply the law and ask the business to temporarily stop operations until they can talk with the Buildings Department about next steps.

The Buildings Department patiently waited for cooler minds to come forward. At approximately 11:00 PM, the Buildings Commissioner located the building owner and explained the situation. The building owner translated the conversation between him and the Buildings Department to the owners of the establishment. The matter was immediately resolved without incident.

The City makes every effort to work with responsible business owners and encourage their success. Food establishments, like all establishments, must follow building safety codes as well as additional food prep requirements. The City offered them a chance to correct the issue which they refused and opted to distract from their problem. The Buildings Department looks forward to working with the building owner and others to help the small business grow and flourish.

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SOURCE: Mayor  Richard Thomas’ Press Office.

eHeziQuality of Life Task Force Takes Steps to Address Health and Safety Issues at Buildings and Businesses

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