Property owner stored unregistered vehicles in residential area as part of his automotive hobby. On April 7, 2017, the Department of Buildings charged Juan Castillo, a property owner in an area zoned for residential use, with illegally operating an auto body mechanics shop in a garage on his premises, and with permitting the dead storage of vehicles.
At the hearing, Castillo argued that he did not operate an auto body shop; rather he fixed cars and motorcycles as a personal hobby. Castillo testified that the vehicles in his garage and yard were all owned by him and his two tenants. Even if some of the vehicles were unregistered, Castillo argued, the vehicles were privately owned by Castillo or his tenants and were therefore permitted to be stored in an area that was zoned for residential use.
A OATH hearing officer sustained the charge of dead storage of vehicles in violation of a zoning resolution, but dismissed the charge that Castillo was operating an auto body shop in his garage.
The OATH Appeals Board affirmed the hearing officer’s decision. The Board ruled that the zoning resolution only permitted residential parking to be used for the long-term storage of private vehicles used by the occupants of a residence. Castillo’s vehicles were without license plates or valid registrations, and could not be operated on the street. Because the vehicles could not be “used by the occupants” of a residence, the vehicles constituted prohibited dead storage.
NYC v. Juan Castillo, OATH Appeals Board. Appeal No. 1701082 (Dec. 14, 2017).
By: Danielle Mabe (Danielle is a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)