THOUSAND OAKS : Renters Allowed to Keep 4 Cars at Home

Six adults living with two children in a rented home on Calle Tulipan will be permitted to keep four cars--but only if they keep them off the street, the Thousand Oaks City Council decided.

When landlord Nidal Barakat first requested permission to rent his four-bedroom home to an extended family with four cars, the council deadlocked on a 2-2 vote with Councilman Alex Fiore absent.

But the council reopened the public hearing Tuesday night and Fiore returned to the dais. He broke the tie and cast his vote in favor of the landlord, arguing that the family's four working adults need four cars to get to their jobs.

The second vote, although allowed under city law, sparked a minor protest from one nearby resident and an objection from Mayor Elois Zeanah.

They noted that another 2-2 deadlock several weeks ago at the Janss Mall public hearing was allowed to stand. That tie vote effectively denied the Janss Corp.'s request to install free-standing signs bearing Mervyn's name.

Another recent hearing ending in a tie was also allowed to stand because the absent council member that night, Frank Schillo, had a conflict of interest and could not vote on the proposal to build a drive-through McDonald's.

Explaining the inconsistency, Councilwoman Judy Lazar said that no council member had felt passionate about the Mervyn's sign issue, so the group as a whole "was willing to let it go."

In contrast, Fiore had asked specifically to vote on the car issue, and said he watched the entire public hearing on television after leaving the Janss Mall meeting on his doctor's recommendation.

Before taking a new vote, the council listened to more than an hour of testimony from residents concerned about overcrowding and overflow parking at the Calle Tulipan home.

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