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Towne Gardens, city attorneys spar on code violations

Attorneys for the owner of the Towne Gardens housing complex and the City of Buffalo disagreed Monday in Buffalo Housing Court over whether five housing code violations have been corrected at the 360-unit, federally subsidized complex on Clinton Street near Jefferson Avenue.

Scott M. Duquin, who represents Town Gardens LLC, the Brooklyn-based owner of the complex, said he believes that work has been completed on the five violations found by city housing inspectors in March. He presented work orders and photos of the repairs.

But Assistant Corporation Counsel Rashied H. McDuffie said that it was not clear if all the violations have been corrected and that residents have signed off on the work orders.

Housing Court Judge Patrick M. Carney said the city will send out inspectors to verify that the work has been done. He ordered the attorneys to report back to him July 2.

The violations – no lights or burned-out lights in the parking lots and on the apartment exteriors, broken windows, automatic door locks that don’t work and missing aluminum siding and gutters – led the city to file a summons against the owner last month. At least 90 more violations were found during the March inspection blitz and are in the process of being added to the summons.

After Monday’s court session, Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen, who represents the Ellicott District where the Towne Gardens complex is located, said he was glad to see that some work is being done to correct the violations.

But he said the city needs to see more than work orders, adding that city inspectors need to verify that the work has been done and that the violations have been corrected.

Meanwhile, he said the list of violations has grown, and the new violations must be addressed. Among those violations are complaints about mold in apartments.

Duquin said Towne Gardens has hired two contractors to repair roof leaks and replace drywall in apartments that have mold problems. He also said new lights and globes have been ordered to take care of lighting violations. He said he expects the lighting repairs to be completed before the July 2 court date. He also said he plans to arrange a walk-through inspection of the complex with city inspectors to verify that the original five violations have been corrected.