“Invitation to Robbery” Torpedoed
by Allan Appel | Oct 11, 2012 12:40 pm
Posted to: Immigrants, Fair Haven
Benito Urgiles asked zoners for permission to turn his now boarded-up ground-level space on Chapel Street at Ferry into a clothing store. He said he can’t find residential renters for a space that has been vacant since 1957.
Fair Haven’s top cop rose to declare: Terrible idea.
The scene was the Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday night; the cop, Fair Haven District Manager Sgt. Anthony Zona.
Zona said he is concerned not just about the absence of parking, the narrowness of the roadway, and the nearby bus stops. He said he worries more about an ancillary function of Urgiles’ proposed store: cashing money transfers to South American countries.
The clothing store would also offer immigrants the opportunity to send money to Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala.
“I have a high Latino population. They do carry a lot of cash. They are targets of violent robberies. To put a cash transfer place there is to be an invitation to robbery,” Zona said.
He said he has spoken to many people in the neighborhood, and his view is the consensus.
To deny the request is “crime prevention through environmental design,” he said.
In the end, the five commissioners expressed sympathy for Urgiles’s situation but voted unanimously to deny his request.
Technically the reason given: Urgiles doesn’t have a “hardship.” He could open his store at other available locations nearby on Ferry Street.
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zona seems to want to run fair haven like a kindergarten, and withhold services that the grown ups in other neighborhoods take for granted.
instead of shutting down stores, he should be facilitating safe commerce, by protecting and serving the public, and enforcing the law. a police officer should not be the de facto arbiter when it comes to the business needs of a neighborhood.
i suppose the residents who are carrying around all this cash are better off taking a longer walk to a store that offers the transfer service, as opposed to one in their own neighborhood.
Best way to achieve “crime prevention through environmental design”: have fewer abandoned storefronts.
Vacant since 1957? Is that for real?
[Editor’s Note: I had the same thought. That fact apparently came from a City Plan report.]
I’m’ strongly support to Srg. Zona.
“Crime prevention through environmental design” really works.
We have a project in Fair Haven call
Base to these concepts. We are small Group of neighbors with simple ways to organize share and have group discussion to improve our quality of life. We organized community cleanups, plant trees, flowers. We are not an association or have any budget. All of us are volunteers. Violence, crime and more a lot more clean streets has been improving and now.
I’m taking the next step; active parents from our schools will be part to beautify their children environment NOT only from inside. Principal and parents like the idea.