Officials said that the city has issued 10 summonses to the store in the past week.
"What the residents say is true; it's a nightmare," said the City's Public Works Director Joseph Peluso at Wednesday night's council meeting. "I'm under the impression that they think they can run their operation like they do in Manhattan."
Approximately two dozen residents at Wednesday night's council meeting said they have had their quality of life negatively impacted by Eden's actions over the past two months.
According to a group of Bloomfield Street residents living between Second and Third streets, the upscale store has been using its rear exit as a trash disposal and loading area since it opened. They say that a hazardous situation has been created for children in the area who allegedly dodge forklifts during their morning and afternoon commutes to and from school. They also said that they smell odors from the sidewalk at all hours of the day and that the odors and bags of trash might invite rats and roaches to the area.
Residents also complained about noise made in the early morning hours, allegedly beginning at approximately 4:30 a.m. and lasting until around 8:30 a.m., caused by garbage and delivery trucks. In addition, because there is no space for a truck to pull over on Bloomfield Street, when a delivery is being made or trash is being picked up, traffic is blocked, which they said leads to a row of cars beeping out of frustration.
"The delivery trucks stop in the middle of Bloomfield [and] put on their hazards," said resident Sarah Grygiel. "The line-up of cars and the beeping that ensues is unbearable. I haven't slept through the night since Garden of Eden moved in."
According to Peluso, Eden was instructed when they first opened up shop that they could not use Bloomfield Street for food deliveries or to dispose of their garbage. However, the store has allegedly ignored the city's attempts to resolve the situation.
Mustafe Coskun, president and CEO of Garden of Eden, which is one of a chain of stores throughout the metropolitan area mostly in downtown Manhattan, apologized for any trouble he had caused to tenants. He said he was committed to resolving the problems, and that he did not realize it had gotten as bad as it appeared at the City Council meeting.
"The last thing that we want is to be a bad neighbor," said Coskun. "We always want what is best for the community, and we'll resolve the issue."
Although Coskun acknowledged that he was told by the city not use Bloomfield Street for deliveries or garbage disposal, he claimed that having attempted to use Washington Street initially, he was unable to continue because the trucks blocked traffic and resulted in him getting fined habitually by police.
Before the current situation came about, Coskun had requested that the city make a permanent loading zone in front of the store, thereby removing the metered parking currently there.
The proposal was denied, he said, causing him to have the vehicles double park, which led to tickets and to the current problem at the store's rear.
Coskun acknowledged that the basement was in the back of the store, which allowed for easier access when making deliveries from the rear of the facility. He said that if he is allowed to rent out two metered parking spaces from the city for deliveries, which he says the municipality had originally denied him, he would be more than willing to change his current approach.
At approximately 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, after the City Council meeting had ended, this reporter noticed workers from Eden bringing in bags of trash from the outside and moving them inside. As of Thursday, Coskun said that all trash would now be placed on Washington Street.
Also, though the delivery situation had not yet been resolved, Coskun says he will have the trucks redirected to Washington Street immediately in the hopes that the city and Eden can find a resolution to the current problem.
Michael Mullins can be reached at email@example.com