UNION, NJ – A Union business was ordered closed last week for multiple unanswered safety violations, according to court documents.
The business, known as Enterprise Realty Associates at 601 Lehigh Avenue, was shuttered on March 30 when the township sought a court decree to enforce the closing of, and business operations at, the site.
According to the township’s complaint, “as a result of defendant’s blatant disregard of the township’s Construction Code and Fire Code Orders, the township was given no choice but to seek emergent relief. Despite a posted notice on the building entrances that requires the building to be vacant, defendants continue business as usual.”
According to the Order to Show Cause document, on March 22, a Union fire official issued a Notice of Imminent Hazard, which required the building to be immediately vacated and closed. But, “Defendants and their tenants have continued business operations, and have been present in the building,” read the complaint.
Municipal attorney Daniel Antonelli said the business received multiple violations, but refused to address the issues. “When we have a property owner who completely disregards and ignores construction code violations and fire code violations, it becomes the township’s obligation to enforce those laws to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our residents,” said Antonelli.
According to the complaint, the township has issued, and the business has ignored, a long list of safety violations, dating back to at least Feb. 2019. Violations include the outdoor storage of tractor trailers and permitting trucks to park on the property without applying for the proper approval; maintaining dangerous conditions liable to cause or contribute to the spread of fire and the obstruction of fire escapes, stairs, etc. liable to interfere with egress in case of fire; hazardous conditions arising from defective or improperly installed electrical wiring; improperly installed equipment for handling combustible, explosive material, and a dangerous amount of combustible, explosive or otherwise hazardous materials. “Clear and unchallenged violations of the relevant Code.”
“[The] Defendants lack of appreciation for the seriousness of the Construction and Fire Code violations require this Court’s intervention,” read legal complaint. According to the document, the defendants took the position that the Township needs a search warrant to determine if the building is vacant. That position is contrary to the rules that permit township inspection rights, but “serves to further demonstrate Defendants have no intention of abating any imminent hazards…and “would rather risk a devastating fire to person or property. Each day that passes is another day that the health, safety and welfare of the Township residents and property is at serious and significant risk of harm.”
In the Order to Show Cause, the business owner and tenants are restrained from entering the property, must cease all operations, and must permit township officials access to inspect the property.
“This is total disregard by the landlord and tenants for the seriousness of these issues,” added Antonelli. “They have flagrantly ignored the township’s citations, becoming a hazard to the surrounding residents.” He said there are at least 12 businesses illegally operating on the site, “without certificates of occupancy”.
A request for comment from the property owner, through an attorney associated with them, went unanswered.
According to the Order to Show Cause, the property owners have until April 30 to submit to the Court a written response to the order.