Silver Lake auto shops charged with illegally parking vehicles, taking up scarce street spots
Two Silver Lake auto repair shops are facing misdemeanor criminal charges, accused of illegally parking luxury vehicles in spots meant for neighborhood residents, Los Angeles city officials said.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, City Atty. Mike Feuer accused the two shops — Hi Tech Automotive and Sublime Silverlake — of illegal street parking and storage of numerous vehicles along the 4000 block of Fountain Avenue.
The complaint names property owners Grigor Bakchajian, Arusiak Karadanaian and Vasken Bedirian. Bakchajian operates both businesses, according to the complaint. Attempts to reach the owners Wednesday were unsuccessful, and messages left with both shops were not immediately returned.
The charges came after a KNBC-TV Channel 4 investigative report spotted shop workers parking the cars in the coveted neighborhood spots — a zoning violation under the city’s municipal code, which prohibits repair shops from parking vehicles outside their lots or approved storage yards.
Six Porsches, three Ferraris and a Dodge Viper were among the vehicles parked along Fountain Avenue while allegedly in the shops’ possession, court documents say. The stretch is a busy thoroughfare in the neighborhood.
Thefts of the devices, which can be sold to auto parts suppliers or scrapyards, have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s untenable that neighborhood residents have suffered for so long because these auto repair shops allegedly take up scarce public parking spaces,” Feuer said. “That’s why we are taking action and filing these charges.”
KNBC, which began its investigation after receiving an email from Silver Lake resident Brian Behrend, also reported that Range Rovers, Mercedes-Benzes and Maseratis were clogging residential streets nearby.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Behrend, 51, said that he has lived about two blocks from Hi Tech for 20 years and that he has been frustrated by lines of exotic and expensive vehicles parked on his street for all of those two decades.
“It was just the sheer number of cars on the street,” he said. “They don’t hide it, you can see mechanics parking cars there and then they just sit on the street and moved back and forth for street cleaning. It’s not right.”
He said he reached out to the news outlet after years of sending letters and emails to council members and city departments to address the issue, all to no avail. Though he was “happy and elated” that officials were finally taking action, he also remained guarded over whether anything will change.
“It’s nice to contribute to the neighborhood in a way that, if anything ever comes of this, seems like positive things are happening,” Behrend said. “But I’m kind of old and jaded, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer, said the incident isn’t isolated to Silver Lake and added that the city attorney’s office will continue to work with city agencies to address similar problems in L.A.
In total, the shop owners were charged with 11 zoning violations as well as two violations for failing to comply with the city’s orders to discontinue the illegal parking and storage of the vehicles.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both, Wilcox said.
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