After more the two years, the verdict is finally in on the Larchmont Bungalow. On December 30, 2011, Judge Soussan Bruguera dismissed the case filed by the Larchmont Bungalow owners that claimed the city had improperly revoked the Bungalow’s certificate of occupancy.
The dismissal upholds the city’s enforcement action against the Bungalow, for violating the terms of its take-out/retail permit by operating as a restaurant with dining tables and chairs.
“This was a very important ruling and takes us a long way to the finish line,” said Kim Westhoff, City Attorney who defended the case, “but we are not quite there yet.” The Bungalow could appeal the ruling.
The case centered on a covenant Bungalow owner, Albert Mizrahi, signed in June 2009 promising that he would operate a take-out only restaurant with no tables and chairs. The covenant was required by the city’s department of building and safety in an effort to make sure Mizrahi didn’t operate the Bungalow as a restaurant because current zoning restricts the number of restaurants on the street. To secure a restaurant permit, Mizrahi would have had to go through a lengthy and public process with the planning department. Instead, he signed the agreement, and has been fighting the city ever since.
The city cited the Bungalow almost immediately after it opened in October 2009. After the Bungalow lost an administrative appeal in December, the city revoked its certificate of occupancy. When the Bungalow still failed to comply with city orders, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich filed criminal charges against Mizrahi. The criminal case was put on hold when Mizrahi filed a civil action against the city claiming it had improperly revoked his permit. Now that the civil case has been decided in the city’s favor, presumably the criminal case will move forward.
Mizrahi and his company, Larchmont Village Partners, owns over 20,000 square feet of space on Larchmont and operates several other businesses, including Twirl Yogurt, Library and Larchmont Hardwear, operated by his son, in the former Larchmont Hardware space. Upon taking ownership of the buildings, Mizrahi increased the rents which resulted in the closing of the hardware store and several other businesses on the street.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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