Judge delays case of two car washers

Judge delays case of two car washers
Westlake takes women to court
by Roberta Landman

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - The case of two women arrested July 30 for washing cars in city limits is being held over until Sept. 2.

A Malibu Municipal Court commissioner on Thursday told the city to come back to court and show specifically how its zoning ordinance prohibits mobile car washers from operating in Westlake Village.

The women, Leslie Nims, 26, of Newbury Park, owner of Car Wash Gals, and Yojana Maria Nuno-Lopez, 23, of Thousand Oaks, had appeared for arraignment at the court.  The misdemeanor carries the penalty of a fine determined by a judge and/or six months in jail.

The women were cited July 30 by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies as they worked in a business parking lot.  They were released immediately.

An attorney for the women, Bill Webb, had asked that the case brought against them be thrown out of court, challenging the city law as being vague.

"The charges levied are entirely based on the zoning ordinance of the City of Westlake Village, over 220 pages, and nowhere are there the words, 'mobile car wash,'" Webb said.  "The city relied on ambiguity."

City officials contend that the zoning ordinance only allows carwashg businesses that are attached to service stations, which are specifically referenced in the law.  The mobiles are not mentioned.

"We were advised by the city attorney's office that the ordinance was very specific as it pertains to car washes and allows car washes only in conjunction with service stations," Westlake Village Planning Director Bob Theobald said Thursday.  "And by inference it disallows mobile car washes."

Asked what the city could do if the court decides its law is too vague, and dismisses criminal charges against the women, he suggested the city might amend its zoning code to include mobile car-washing.

Reprinted from News Chronicle, August 27, 1993.

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