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The Cherry Hill Market hosted none other than Borough President Marty Markowitz at its “grand opening” last week - despite findings from the city that the business is in clear violation of the Sheepshead Bay Special District.
“I couldn’t figure it out,” Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo said. “It would be a horrible thing if you’re saying it is illegal, to walk in there and wish the guy the best of luck.”
From the outset, Scavo, along with State Senator Carl Kruger, have been Cherry Hill’s most vocal critics, charging that the establishment is more retail market than sit-down restaurant and in violation of the Sheepshead Bay Special District.
The eatery, located inside the landmark Lundy’s building at 1901 Emmons Avenue, has actually been open throughout the spring and summer.
In that time, both the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) cited Cherry Hill with serious violations.
In August, the DOB cited Cherry Hill for operating a place of assembly without a certificate of occupancy.
Other violations issued over the summer subjected Cherry Hill to fines totaling $15,000.
“They can’t operate a market there because that’s contrary to zoning,” DOB assistant press secretary Carly Sullivan said.
Cherry Hill has a court date with the Environmental Control Board on October 5.
In a statement, Markowitz spokesperson Mark Zustovich said, “The borough president regularly attends the openings of new businesses that provide jobs and services in Brooklyn, and he is optimistic that the new owners and the city will work to resolve any issue that might exist.”
According to the DOB, Cherry Hill has two options: restore the building to legal use or get a variance from the Board of Standards & Appeals.
“The agencies have issued the violations as they deemed appropriate and nothing has changed,” a spokesperson for Kruger said.
In addition to its problems with the DOB, Cherry Hill still has yet to resolve its issues with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which started when they installed a new sidewalk around the Lundy’s building.
“The progress towards getting this permit has stalled,” LPC spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon said. “We got an application to legalize the sidewalk but we haven’t heard anything back from the owner.”
Cherry Hill operators and the building’s landlord have insisted from the very beginning that they have been working with the city and that the market is an asset to the community.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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