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Montrose Collection facing closure

Restaurant has been accused many times of illegal use as a banquet hall.

June 21, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

GLENDALE — Montrose Collection Restaurant and Banquet Hall may have to shut down if a judge sides with city officials who claim its owners have continued to flout regulations.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge continued a hearing Thursday on issuing a preliminary injunction against Montrose Collection for allegedly continuing to conduct business without the proper city permits, according to court records.

Judge William Stewart pushed the hearing to July 9, when city attorneys will make their case for shutting down the restaurant, according to court records.


City attorneys filed a complaint June 8 against the restaurant for allegedly operating without a proper zoning-use certificate and parking-reduction permit.

"It's disconcerting that somebody thumbs their nose at the law and is able to escape with the ability to do this," City Atty. Scott Howard said.

City Council revoked the parking permit March 2009 and the zoning certificate a few months later, contending there was insufficient parking for use as a banquet hall, which city officials said was not allowed at the restaurant.

The city required the restaurant's owners, Armen and Takui Aivazian, to return the restaurant to its size prior to a 2006 expansion and apply for new operating permits.

The council's actions were upheld when a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge denied the Aivazians' attempt to challenge the revocation.

The city has since accumulated evidence, including details from several police and code enforcement inspections, allegedly showing that the restaurant continued to operate without the proper permits, according to court documents.

"We will continue to move forward," Howard said.

The city and the Aivazians have been in a long-standing conflict that has bounced from the zoning administrator up to the Planning Commission, City Council and Superior Court.

The constant battle has put an emotional and financial strain on the Aivazians, said their attorney, Derek Tabone.

"It's put my client out of business, basically destroying them economically," he said.

Since 2006, the Aivazians have repeatedly appealed city zoning decisions and filed a slander lawsuit against neighbors who complained publicly about the impacts of the banquet hall.

And with the ongoing litigation, the Aivazians will continue to struggle to stay afloat, Tabone said.

"They didn't get into this to do anything wrong," he said. "All they got in to do was to run a restaurant."

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