BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Residents living near a Starbucks in Jackson Heights said they have had enough of the big piles of trash the coffee shop dumps on the side of its building, facing residential apartments.
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) stood with angry neighbors on the corner of 37th Avenue and 79th Street in Jackson Heights to bring attention to the growing garbage problem caused by the corporate neighbor.
Dromm’s office has received numerous complaints from neighbors about the mountains of garbage that are continuously left out on the curb for longer than a day.
After sending a letter to Starbucks notifying them of their non-compliance with the City’s administrative code, which states a business must place their garbage on the curb at designated times, and complaining to Starbucks’ manager, Dromm said no action has since been taken.
“Starbucks is in regular and flagrant violation of city laws,” Dromm said. “This is unacceptable and must be corrected immediately. Starbucks is to blame for the large volume of garbage placed on 79th Street.”
Some neighbors said they have called 311 on numerous occasions, but the City has not been able to issue fines because Starbucks dumps their garbage about 50 feet from their front door and down 79th Street in an inconspicuous location that inspectors find hard to locate.
Elisa Carlucci, a 79th Street resident, said Starbucks has been littering heavily on the block for several years.
“City agencies such as the Business Integrity Commission and 311 have been unable to have any impact because they’re searching the wrong area, in front of the business’s storefront,” she said. “Inspectors never think to walk around the corner to residential 79th Street because almost all of the businesses in the area place their debris on 37th Avenue. Vermin and bad odors are the result.”
Sara Stemen, another 79th Street resident, said Starbucks’ garbage pickups have disturbed the sleep of the families in their building for several years.
“Their trash pickups take place in front of our residential building throughout the night, anywhere from the late evening hours to 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.,” she said. “We would like Starbucks to be responsible neighbors by following legal guidelines for trash pickup times so that our two school-aged children — and all the residents of our building—can sleep through the night again.”
Laurel Harper, a spokesperson for Starbucks, said being a good neighbor is really important to them.
“As you can imagine, we have stringent standards for our stores inside, but also for the proper disposal of garbage,” she said. “As soon as we learned about this, we immediately started looking into it to make sure our standards are being followed.”
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.