Northfield Village -- The owner of Summit Plaza shopping center on Route 8 has paid nearly $3,000 in fines and court costs in connection with misdemeanor violations of village building codes the village filed against him early this year.
Village officials say he is now in compliance.
The five violations, plus a minor misdemeanor grass and weed citation, were filed in Stow Municipal Court Jan. 22, the same day that New Plaza Management Co. LLC partner and defendant Howard Shafron pleaded not guilty to the citations in the village's Mayor's Court.
In April, Shafron changed his plea on four of the citations to no contest and was found guilty of two maintenance of exteriors and one roof gutter citation, all first-degree misdemeanors, and a minor misdemeanor weed control citation. The two other citations were dismissed.
Total fines and court costs were $2,818, according to Stow Municipal Court records.
Village Service Director Jason Walters, who also serves as building and zoning inspector, issued violation notices to New Plaza Management in June and July of 2012 and said citations based on the notices were filed against Shafron in mayor's court in October when progress to correct the alleged violations had not been made.
Law Director Brad Bryan said the village was forced to transfer the six citations to the municipal court because Shafron pleaded not guilty and the mayor's court does not try cases.
Shafron said that in the 12 years he's owned the plaza, he has never had issues with the village government before. Shafron said that he had been planning renovations when the village cited him.
"All they had to do was give me a call on the phone," he said, adding he ended up spending "between $40,000 and $50,000" on various projects, including reroofing the car wash, painting the shopping center facade, fixing potholes in the parking lot, among other repairs.
Bryan said the village gave Shafron multiple verbal and written warnings last year before filing formal citations.
According to mayor's court documents, citations included:
• A wall at the rear of the former Gabriel Brothers store location that had been damaged when it was struck by a car required repair;
• Sections of the parking lot were "cracked, deteriorated and contain pot holes."
• The roof of the car wash at the south end of the plaza was deteriorated.
• Exterior paint on the car wash was "faded, deteriorated and flaking."
• Paint on the main plaza building facia boards and overhangs was "faded, deteriorated and flaking."
The minor misdemeanor violation was for uncut weeds on the property.
Shafron said he's been hard-pressed financially for the past several years, as the shopping center has had a 55 percent vacancy rate.
"It was over half empty since 2007," he said.
Shafron said he recently hired a real estate consultant and expects business to pick up after Northfield Park's racino opens at the end of the year.
"It's gotten potential tenants interested," he said, but added the interest hasn't yet translated into solid deals.
"It seems they're kind of waiting for it to open before they pull the trigger," he said.