The city has issued 210 summonses to Art Factory tenants operating out of Spruce Street and Totowa Avenue building allegedly in violation of municipal ordinance, according to Community Improvement division director David Gilmore.
Gilmore said the city issued 170 summonses for Art Factory complex on Spruce Street and another 40 for the building on Totowa Avenue. He said on Monday afternoon the citations were given to building tenants and David Garsia, owner of the Art Factory complexes, for operating without the required certificate of occupancies.
A. Michael Rubin, attorney representing Garsia, said his client has been issued half of the summonses and the other half issued to tenants. “We don’t think we are liable for any kind of fine. We think we’re within the law with what we’ve been doing at that building for 20-30 years,” said Rubin.
Rubin said the building has been housing artists and artisans from the days of mayor Lawrence “Pat” Kramer. “All of the sudden the city apparently doesn’t want that use after all these years,” he said.
Gilmore said inspectors also discovered improvements made to the buildings without the necessary building permits.
“The building was built in 1840, they didn’t have permits in 1840,” remarked Rubin, citing a date that appears on a Water Wheel located in the basement of the Spruce Street building. “The building materials and concepts way back then aren’t going to be the same as today. We’re protected by historic preservation law.”
Rubin will have to make the legal arguments before a judge for the summonses issued to his client. A court date has been scheduled for December 15th, 2016 at the Paterson Municipal Court.
Garsia also owes the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to the municipality. When inspectors descended on his Art Factory complex on Spruce Street, a reporter asked him about owed taxes. He said he was not prepared to answer that question at that time.
When asked whether his client has paid owed taxes, Rubin said: “There’s an issue with the amount due and owed. That will be worked out eventually.”
The summonses are the result of inspections conducted at 70 Spruce Street in late October and at 468 Totowa Avenue in early November.