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Community Development Director Jeff Lambert. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By Chris Frost

chris@tricountysentry.com

Oxnard—The City of Oxnard is taking steps to end Magic Auto on Oxnard Blvd, which has been a long-standing public nuisance for residents.

 

The property has empty, non-operational autos, trash, and vagrants living in the empty cars at all its locations, to name a few of the complaints.

 

The car dealer occupies four addresses on Oxnard Blvd. and since 2008, the Oxnard Police Department has responded to calls for service at the address 492 times. Since 2014, the Oxnard Fire Department has responded to 16 calls at the location.

 

Code enforcement, law enforcement, and the fire department gave the business “multiple opportunities” to come into compliance, Community Development Director Jeff Lambert said, with no results.

 

“I want to make it clear to the council that the property owner and the business owner is the same person,” he said. “This is not a case where we are going after the wrong person.” 

 

The Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Magic Auto’s Dealer and salesperson license, Nov. 15, 2018, he said, and based on that action, the city revoked the businesses business tax certificate on Jan. 22, 2019.

 

“We’re in the process of revoking the zoning clearance on this property,” he said. “The property owner is prohibited from operating as a vehicle dealer or salesperson. I should note that they have a valid business license certificate for a financial company at 900 South Oxnard Boulevard.”

 

The property is a threat to the health, life, and safety of neighbors, Lambert said, and code enforcement has four active cases on Magic Auto and 28 cases over the last decade.

 

“All in all, it’s a terrible situation,” he said. “We’ve issued numerous notices of violation to the property owner, and earlier this year, you authorized us to place a special assessment on the properties. In 2018, the total assessment was over $51,000 and halfway through 2019; we’re up to $35,000 in citations on this property.”

 

The city attorney’s office issued a final notice of compliance last month, and the owner did not comply.

 

“As of July 3, 160 vehicles were remaining on the properties, and the city’s estimated cost to have them removed is about $48,000,” he said. “We’re not sure if the local contractors have the space to do that if we ask them to.”

 

The city plans extraordinary enforcement actions and hired a specialized code enforcement lawyer.

 

“Matt Wright worked with me for many years in the City of Ventura, and he had some great success on difficult challenges,” he said. “If successful, the city will pursue a receivership. The court gives control of the property to a receiver, and the receiver’s job is to bring the property into compliance, and then charge the cost of the receivership back to the property owner.”