RESIDENTS COOL TO SHARMA CHARM PLAN

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Sunny’s back in biz, and dialing up the charm.

Sunny Sharma of Best Liquors has his store back online after a brief shutdown for fire code violations.

And he’s gone proactive, trying to cool the anger of neighbors who want him shut down.

He’s got his work cut out for himself.

Sharma tells redbankgreen that he’s asked the owner of the payphones attached to the front of the store to take them out.

He’s installing exterior security cameras on two sides of the corner building to deter loitering and scare off anyone who might want to traffic in drugs or flesh.

He’s posting ‘No Loitering’ signs. He’s asking customers to turn off their car stereos, and they’re complying, he says.

This in addition to the installation of halogen lighting a few months back, plus the firing of a what he says was a wayward employee who saddled him with all kinds of legal problems by selling loose cigarettes and liquor to minors.

The pending charges in municipal court, as well as the repeated complaints by nearby residents, have fueled efforts by the borough itself to shut him down.

But Sharma wants his neighbors to know he’s doing everything he can. He also wants to them to come to him with suggestions for further improvements to cut down on noise, litter and loitering.

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“I’m not fighting anybody,” he says. “I’m just doing what my attorney and my friends think is best for me, and what I think is best for me. I’ll do what I can, anything that will resolve this.”

The removal of the pay phones will cost him some income, he says, “but I’m complying with my neighbors’ requests, and now, nobody will have any excuse to be hanging out in front of the store,” he says.

So, will all these measures quell the neighbors’ ire?

Not likely, if you go by comments made Wednesday night at a meeting of the Westside Community Group, at which the store was a topic of discussion.

Krishna Tyler, who lives two doors north of the store, said that, like prior owners, Sharma is only able to do so much, with customers who simply don’t care about the impact they have on the quality of life in the neighborhood.

“They all try their best,” she said, “bit it is just out of their control.”

“Don’t confuse a nice guy with someone who’s trying to leach as many dollars as he can out of this neighborhood,” Leighton Avenue homeowner John Ross told the gathering of about two dozen residents. “If he really was a nice guy, would he really hold this many blocks hostage?”

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