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Proposed Victory Hotel site at the center of 2 lawsuits

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A rendering shows a proposed 64-room hotel along Victory Boulevard and Winchester Avenue.
(Courtesy of Glendale city staff)

The owner of a proposed hotel in Glendale’s Riverside Rancho neighborhood has filed a lawsuit against residents living next to the development site. Those residents are appealing the proposed project. On top of all that, the city has filed a suit against the proposed hotel’s owner for failing to maintain the property.

It hasn’t been an entirely smooth process to bring the three-story, 64-room hotel, planned to go up at 1633 Victory Blvd., to the semirural neighborhood.

Jayesh Kumar, developer of the proposed Victory Hotel, filed a more than $60,000 trespassing lawsuit in early March against a married couple living next to the development site.

The couple, Phillip and Amy Marks, are leading an appeal of the city’s decision in January to approve the project.

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Less than a month before Kumar filed his suit, the city filed an unrelated criminal lawsuit against him for failing to properly maintain the planned hotel site, according to Yvette Neukian, senior assistant city attorney.

To have the suit dismissed, Kumar must finish by May 1 a mostly complete cleanup of the site that had been deemed unsanitary because of trash and graffiti found on its premises, Neukian said.

Residents alerted a neighborhood services authority about the site’s previously unkempt state, which in turn contacted the city, according to Neukian.

In Kumar’s suit against the Marks couple, he alleged they improperly parked their blue Honda Accord on his property from Sept. 19, 2017, until Feb. 21 of this year, at which point the car was towed.

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With the plaintiff estimating the storage value at $115 per day, the car’s presence on the lot for those 520 days amounts to $59,800, the suit alleges. Factoring in the $200 it allegedly cost Kumar to tow the car and continue to store it at an unknown location for $115 a day, the suit pegged the total damage at $60,950 — a figure that grows every day the car is unclaimed.

“Each of them [has] been unjustly enriched by obtaining the unauthorized use and enjoyment of” Kumar’s property, the suit states, referring to Phillip and Amy Marks.

Phillip Marks said he has no idea where his car has been taken, receiving no answer to questions about its whereabouts from Kumar or his representatives. He said he thinks he is being targeted because of his vocal opposition to the proposed hotel.

“Other vehicles were confiscated on the lot, and to my knowledge no one else has been sued,” Phillip Marks said. “I think this points to a little special treatment for the guy who’s appealing the project.”

Kumar did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Markses have filed a response denying any wrongdoing and asking for a dismissal of the case. A hearing is set for April 3.

According to Phillip Marks, he had been storing the car at the property on the northwest corner of South Victory Boulevard and Winchester Avenue with permission from a person who had subleased the property long before Kumar purchased it. That tenant, who operated an auto sales company on the lot, failed to honor the lease and left the property by Oct. 25, 2017, according to the suit.

This past Jan. 10, the city’s Design Review Board unanimously voted to support the hotel project, which would occupy most of the approximately 21,647-square-foot lot, and would include a two-level subterranean parking garage and second-floor pool deck.

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By Jan. 25, Phillip Marks, with support from fellow neighbors, appealed the decision on the grounds that there was insufficient environmental review of the proposed hotel project and that a study on how the project would impact nearby residences’ exposure to sunlight, which was commissioned by the developer, was also riddled with errors.

According to Phillip Marks, he and other residents “are not just being NIMBY [not in my backyard] for NIMBY’s sake.”

Had the developer proposed a smaller project, “We would have said, ‘A hotel wouldn’t be our first choice, but welcome to our neighborhood,” Phillip Marks said.

Until the appeal is resolved, the project cannot move forward, Neukian said.

lila.seidman@latimes.com

Twitter: @lila_seidman


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