A private home at 508 N. Highland Ave that has become a public eyesore has been the ire of Hancock Park residents who are calling for City officials and the Department of Building & Safety to ticket the property owners for violations, and help get the place cleaned up.
In response to queries from agitated neighbors over many years, Councilman Tom LaBonge’s office (CD4) has notified the LAPD, the Office of the City Attorney and the Department of Building & Safety last February about enforcing the violations. Building & Safety currently has the complaints listed as “Under Investigation.”
“The City needs to enforce our zoning laws and protect our residents,” Cindy Chvatal, President of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association told the Buzz. “Piles of trash and broken down cars in the front yard, continuous yard sales, illegal squatters , drug busts … this is not acceptable. Residents have been reporting all of these things to the City for a decade and we need enforcement now.” Chvatal shared a list of reported violations that goes back to 2005.
“It is unfortunate this debacle has dragged on so long,” Councilman Tom LaBonge told the Buzz. “We have been working with City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office and expect it will all be resolved in the next thirty days. It takes time to work its way through the courts,” LaBonge said, referring to the current process of evicting the squatters who live on the property.
According to the Field Deputy for CD4, the home has been the subject of a court battle following the death of the previous owner. There are three parties who have been fighting for the ownership rights over past months, including the caretaker of the property. During this time the caretaker had a legal claim to live on the property in the interim, and subsequently has turned the place into a nuisance property, with multiple drug related raids and arrests by the LAPD occurring over recent months.
Only recently the probate issue was settled and a neighbor on Highland purchased the home. According to Councilman LaBonge, the new owner is eager to take over the property and clean it up, and doesn’t need to inherit additional violations put on the property, putting him in a bind and slowing down the clean up process. The Councilman’s office is optimistic the community will see a big change at 508 N Highland within the next few weeks.
Editor’s Note: This came in from Rob Wilcox in the City Attorney’s Office at 4:27pm on Thursday, May 22nd:
The City Attorney and LAPD have been working collaboratively with the new owner over many months to address various issues, including illicit drugs, at 508 North Highland. After both a lengthy probate process and heavily contested eviction proceedings, this morning the Sheriff served a writ allowing the eviction of all but one of the house’s occupants. The City Attorney’s Office continues to support the homeowner in his effort to complete the eviction of the remaining occupant.
The owner is committed to restoring the property and immediately after receiving access this morning removed trash and debris from the front yard.
City Attorney Feuer and LAPD Captain Davis spoke this week about a continued partnership to ensure effective ongoing enforcement at this location and the City Attorney will prosecute trespassers.