Officials slam Apex owners for lack of upkeep

Officials slam Apex owners for lack of upkeep

City officials are criticizing Apex owner Andrew Gates for the overgrown look of his property at 100 Main St. and calling for him to be cited for ongoing violations. (Valley Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)
Zoning slaps company with six violations in nine years

PAWTUCKET - City leaders are demanding that the owners of Apex on Main Street do a better job of maintaining the highly visible downtown property.

Despite repeated requests that owner Andrew Gates do a better job cleaning up litter, trimming shrubs and cutting weeds, the jobs continue to be left undone, said City Councilor John Barry.

According to Barry, several city residents contacted him on a recent zone change request from Gates to ask why officials should do anything for the property owner when his property is in such "great disrepair." Barry said he agrees with the assessment that Apex owners "don't even keep a place that looks decent."

If Gates is as serious about attracting big-time tenants as he says he is, said Barry, then he should think about doing some trimming and mulching. He "positively should be cited more" for the condition of his property, especially since others are being held to a high standard.

Gates couldn't be reached for comment this week.

According to a clerk in the Pawtucket Zoning and Code Enforcement Office, Apex at 100 Main St. has been cited for various violations six times since 2006, most recently in March of this year for failing to have show shoveled from its sidewalks. There was a $25 fine.

The company was cited in May of 2014 for having five unregistered trailers on the property, as well as pieces of brush, leaves, wood, tires, mattresses, trash and debris, said the clerk. No fine was issued that time, but the owners were required to make a municipal court appearance, she said.

The clerk said officials also handed out violations for 100 Main St. in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2006. Unlike the most recent two, there were no files available to explain what those earlier citations were for, she said.

Officials keep hearing from Gates about the "tremendous amount of money he's investing" in marketing the property, said Barry, but he doesn't see how throwing a little money at upkeep could hurt that cause.

"I bet trimming the hedges, throwing mulch and making it look like someone cares about it wouldn't cost him $1,000," he said. "It looks abandoned."

A visit to the property revealed long grass, litter, dead bushes, and broken lights, among other issues.

Barry said he rarely receives calls from constituents pertaining to issues in this section of the city, but the proposal to give Gates a zone change for an abutting piece of property this month prompted eight calls from constituents who wanted the council to reject the request based on the shabby look of the property. Barry ended up voting for the zone change, but said again that he wants more accountability for Gates.

Barry noted that this has been an issue going back several years. He recalls two women who told him about eating at the former Cresta Ristorante at Apex being "frightened stiff" when they came out of the building and went to their car located behind overgrown bushes. Gates was called on the length of his grass then, said Barry. He ended up having it cut but left long grass strewn everywhere.

The District 4 councilman said he knows that "things don't happen overnight," but the city has "bent over backward" to help Gates try to develop his property. Citations shouldn't be given to punish him, he said, but to get some movement on improving the look of the largest property in the downtown.

City Council President David Moran said he believes Gates is no different from any other landowner in Pawtucket, and that he must adhere to the same zoning regulations as everyone else.

"There should be no special treatment here," he said. "He has a responsibility to maintain his property up to code. If he is in violation, then he will be cited."

Lest anyone forget based on the appearance, Gates is marketing this property to investors and developers, said Moran.

"If I'm the owner trying to attract a potential buyer, I would ensure my property looks presentable, professional and that you care," he said.

Dylan Zelazo, spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien, said Monday that Gates is "no different from any other property owner" in the city in terms of the expectation that he keep his property presentable. If anything, "based on the size and location" of the property, he should be "held to a higher standard," said Zelazo.

Zelazo encouraged residents who see an issue with an unkempt property anywhere in the city to call the city's zoning office to report it so the owners can be cited. The number for the zoning office is 401-728-0500, ext. 347.

Comments

John Barry is the only Pawtucket city councilor with no email address listed on the city's web site. Then again, why fill up the inbox with emails if they will only be ignored, like the eight constituents who called to express their desire to reject the request?
http://pawtucketri.com/citycouncil/

This City is giving the owner of the Apex building a hard time. Has anyone looked at the properties the City owns? You will be amazed!

Still waiting for unregistered vehicles and overgrown grass to be dealt with. The city is well aware of the in the bishop bend area. And by the way, there are strange noises coming from the trucking company all hours and even sundays.

Good point zoning issues. It is very funny who the City chooses who they will go after. The owner of the old concrete company was allowed to have an abandoned lot
that was disgusting and a danger to the neighborhood and nothing was ever done. Now there is a trucking company who does whatever they want whenever they want and the City does nothing. Has the Mayor or anyone from city council ever gone by Bishop Bend ever again after stating how much they care, I think I can safely say no!

There was one summer I had called the Zoning Dept. about 20 times about 4ft foot weeds, high grass and garbage on some property, and again, Bishop Bend. They did nothing!! I notified the city council members, again, nothing. It's amazing that they go after the Apex owner for some over grown brush but never did a thing when former city council member Al Vitali had a massage parlor offering/preforming sex in his properties.

John Barry owns A four unit apartment on Division St that a zoning official inspected and cited for the lack of a required fire alarm system Barry blew a gasket how dare he have to follow any rules so Mayor Mc Cheese Dismissed it which he does not have the authority to do Mr Barry wants everyone but himself to follow the rules

The city should take all of Gates's properties by emininent domain and take the ugly dirty buildings down. Put something good there and stop dealing with a guy who repeatedly lies to the Council and doesn't keep his properties clean. It reflects poorly on the entire city.

I was in charge of auditing and compliance for the State's Motor Vehicle Inspection program back when APEX closed its Warwick location. It was an absolute eyesore. Plus, the building that the DMV Inspection Equipment and Blank Inspection Window Stickers were in was left improperly secured which had it not been for action by the Warwick Police and DMV Officials these items could have been easily stolen. The State and Warwick Police authorized me to enter the building through already broken windows to secure everything as Gates was taking no action. When he found out what had taken place he threatened to sue everyone for illegally entering his facility. A threat without merit and that went no where.

The switch a license plate, chop shop drug dealing garbage ridden hood. My grandparents and parents are rolling in thier graves . ....

The switch a license plate, chop shop drug dealing garbage ridden hood. My grandparents and parents are rolling in thier graves . ....

Why do elected officials do NOTHING?????
I think theres a dead body in the truck with flat tire thats been there for weeks, NO PLATES on it. Theres a large case in front seat, whats in it????

Honestly, i cant imagine why anyone would buy a house in pawtucket!!!! Oh yea, absentee landlord renting to drug dealers and hookers$!!!