By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Councilman Carl Louvet told the City Council Dec. 7 that Nabil Omer, owner of the former E F Auto Supply, is violating city ordinance by holding meetings in the store without a certificate of occupancy.
He said the vacant former E F Auto Supply building was denied a zoning changed due to inadequate parking spaces.
“The building inspector said there is no C of O for the commercial end of that building,” Louvet said, “but there is a C of O on the one bedroom apartment upstairs.”
Louvet said there are multiple people in the building on a nightly basis since the Nov. 21 zoning hearing.
“I have only found two nights where there weren’t people in there,” Louvet said. “They have nine parking spots. Two of them are supposed to be the apartment upstairs.”
Louvet said there are 10 cars parked in the former E F Auto Supply lot, plus there are cars parked along the building, which limits fire truck accessibility behind the adjacent doctor’s office.
“The police have been there several times,” Louvet said. “They claim they are all upstairs. If you have 22 cars and only one person per car, that’s 22 people in a one-bedroom apartment.
“If you drive by on Allen Road when the lights are on, you can see the living room. Nobody’s in there. If you go down Ruth Street, you can see the bedroom in the back. You can see that nobody’s in there. So all 22 people must be in the bathroom or in the hallway, I am assuming.”
Louvet said the occupants of the building are lying to the police, who cannot “kick down the door and ask ‘Why are you here?’
“Our police officers are doing the appropriate thing,” Louvet said. “But the gentleman just goes upstairs through the inside entryway now, and he just goes up there now and out the front door and says ‘Yeah, everybody’s upstairs.’ And the what are (the police) to do?”
Louvet asked whether the fire chief, on a residential property, knows of a limit on the number of people who can be in an area like the one-bedroom apartment.
Louvet said he knows that a commercial property must have adequate parking to be in compliance with city codes.
“That’s not going on,” he said. “How I took that is when the gentlemen on the commission voted, ‘no,’ the owner of that establishment said then, ‘Well, forget your rules,’ then it is a free-for-all. And that’s what is going on right now.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)