Sanitation enforcement causes concern in Allerton area

Beth Abraham Health Services superintendent William Sanchez (right) holds tickets his buildings received from the Department of Sanitation. Sanchez is joined by fellow superintendent Miguel Rivera. - Photo by Adam Bermudez

After concerns about neighbors leaving garbage in front of other people’s homes and businesses, Beth Abraham Health Services’ small property division and the Allerton Business and Community Association say they have had enough.

Both a supervisor at the hospital’s small properties and local merchants in the area are fuming about the over-saturation of enforcement by the Department of Sanitation, which issue tickets for improper disposal of trash.

According to representatives of both entities, the DOS has descended on the area, ripping open garbage bags in search of recyclables that are not properly separated, and other violations.

The business district on Allerton Avenue, between White Plains Road and Barker Avenue, has seen an increase in DOS summonses, according to merchants’ reports.

“We often get tickets from Sanitation for infractions that don’t exist,” said Cindy Mazzella, of the Allerton Business and Community Association. “For years we have had problems with residents leaving garbage in front of our merchants’ stores, and then we get ticketed.”

Mazzella said she has spent many days in court attempting to fight the violations, but this often proves futile. She also said that the DOS has pulled away services from the area, forcing shoppers to leave garbage in the streets.

“We’ve lost many receptacles. We had garbage cans on every corner, and now we don’t,” Mazzella continued. “We wanted to put bins on the street with our own logo, but Sanitation said no way.”

Mazzella said that DOS supervisory personnel have refused to have a sit down meeting with her organization.  

Some see the ticketing as part of a disturbing trend of the Bloomberg administration soaking communities with fines who cannot afford it.

“All [Bloomberg] does is increase fines for everything,” said Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., who represents the area. “He is trying to raise money. He is harassing us. I cannot wait until his term is over.”

The problem is also affecting residential properties owned by Beth Abraham Health Services. These properties house their employees and area senior citizens.

“The DOS comes out at 7 a.m. to give tickets, one time coming onto Beth Abraham’s property,” stated Willie Sanchez, who manages operations at Beth Abraham’s small properties. “My guys are trained to recycle properly. Very often neighbors drop garbage in our bins, and then we get ticketed.”

Sanchez said that in the four senior residences Beth Abraham runs on Barker and Olinville avenues, those buildings have been ticketed for discarded baby strollers, high chairs, and toys mixed in improperly with the trash.

“It gets frustrating, trying to comply. I even had to change the shifts so someone is here at 5 a.m., before [DOS] tickets,” Sanchez expounded.

A representative of DOS, Kathy Dawkins, said the best way for the hospital or business to handle the tickets is to plead their case before the Environmental Control Board.

“It is then up to an administrative judge to sustain or dismiss the charges,” she continued. 

But merchants feel they shouldn’t have to go that far and are asking for is a sit-down meeting with DOS to remedy the matter. 

“The [sanitation workers] make a decent living,”

 Mazzella noted. “We are trying to do the same.  They should be willing to meet with us to address our concerns.” 

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