City cracks-down on code violations at a Baldwin Park-contracted tow yard
By Thomas Himes, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/18/2010 05:07:46 PM PDT
Updated: 08/19/2010 09:44:48 AM PDT
BALDWIN PARK - City officials said Wednesday they're cracking down on a police-contracted tow company for building walls too high and gating off a public street.
Royal Coaches employees on Wednesday cut about 2 feet of barbed wire and cinder block off the top of fences around impound lots.
"Because of security for police impounds, we built the (fences) higher than we should have," Royal Coaches owner Bill Salazar said. "We're diligently working to get up to code."
City officials said the fences violated zoning laws that prohibit fences higher than 8 feet, Community Development Manager Marc Castagnola said.
The city also imposed a $500 fine on the company for building a gate across Clark Street, Castagnola said.
And city officials called the fraud department of Southern California Edison in response to allegations the company was stealing power with illegal electrical hook-ups, Castagnola said.
"Are we going after them? Yes we are," Castagnola said. "Are they correcting and cooperating? Yes they are."
The code violations have have been in place for some time. But Castagnola said the limited resources of his department has prevented them from taking action in the past.
Royal Coaches has since removed the gate across Clark Street.
The police contracted tow company was using the street to store impounded vehicles and hold auctions.
With the exception of three homes, the company
owns all the properties along the dead-end street, Salazar said.
"We've requested (city officials) vacate it... sell it to us, give it to us, whatever they want do it with it," Salazar said.
"When it's all said and done I think we'll be better off," Salazar said.
Southern California Edison is investigating allegations of illegal power hook-ups on the company's property, Edison Spokesman Steve Conroy said
Conroy declined to comment further on the investigation.
Salazar denied the claims, saying Edison officials installed street lamps over his impound lots.
He said his company is billed every month for the lights.
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