Today’s news:

Crash course in being tidy

First came the tickets.

Now, the city is planning educational forums to try to get merchants along 86th Street to comply with the law.

The violations were given out this past summer, on a single day, when a multi-agency task force was convened along the strip, in Bensonhurst, to address frequent complaints about “sanitary conditions, sidewalk obstructions, odors and dirt,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, the district manager of Community Board 11, who stressed that the board office has “received complaints about the conditions on 86th Street, between Bay Parkway and 23rd Avenue, for quite some time. It’s really unacceptable for residents.”

“We’re no longer going to sit back and let the property owners and store owners run our community,” agreed City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, who has been working with the mayor’s office to address the problem.

Recchia told board members, gathered for their September meeting at the Holy Family Home, 1740 84th Street, “There are going to be changes, and not everyone is going to be happy, but we are not here to hurt business. We are here to make business better.”

A total of 112 tickets were written on July 16th by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Elias-Pavia said.

In addition, the Department of Sanitation (DOS) issued 12 violations, the Department of Health (DOH) issued 29 violations, and “all perishable food blocking the sidewalk and impeding pedestrians was confiscated,” said Elias-Pavia.

Besides DCA, DOS and DOH, the task force included representatives of the 62nd Precinct, which Elias-Pavia said had requested the multi-agency response, as well as the mayor’s office and City Harvest.

“Unfortunately, within 24 hours, it was business as usual there,” Elias-Pavia noted.

Therefore, to try and change the scenario, the city is turning to education. In mid-October, a two-day seminar for the merchants will be held, she said, “With all the city agencies present to educate merchants on the rules and regulations.”

Prior to the seminar, Elias-Pavia noted, representatives of the mayor’s office and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) “will be out on 86th Street urging the businesspeople to attend.

“There has to be a happy medium between the community and the merchants,” Elias-Pavia stressed. “We feel that through education and compliance, business will actually improve.”

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