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Local News

City Waives $14,000 Fine Against Landlord Dario Pini

The City of Santa Barbara has waived a $14,000 fine it initially imposed against landlord Dario Pini for several violations listed at an Eastside home.

At 1105 E. Gutierrez St., city inspectors documented a crawl space under the house that contained two illegal dwelling units, and an illegal unit located in the garage. A recreational vehicle and trailer in the driveway were being used as dwellings, and exterior property areas were “heavily impacted with trash, debris and storage in the yards and setback,” according to city hearing documents.

That case was one of dozens listed in a civil lawsuit filed by the city last year, alleging that many of Pini’s properties are “public nuisances” that threaten the community’s safety.

Court documents were filed in December, detailing numerous alleged violations at Pini’s rental properties, including people packing into living spaces such as kitchens and balconies; “infestations” of roaches, human feces and urine; and even documented areas being used for prostitution.

A fire investigator and two city building officials conducted inspections of just 20 of Pini’s properties in the city over a span of three days in July, documenting the violations. The city has said it will charge Pini $250 a day until the problems are fixed, and if they aren’t, they’ll ask that the court appoint a receiver to temporarily operate and maintain the properties until the problems are resolved.

With the East Gutierrez Street property, Pini was given 15 days to correct the violations and appealed the fine, saying he had corrected them in 13 days. 

The fine against him in that case was calculated at $14,000 for the four violations for 14 days at $250 days per violation beginning July 13, and Pini argued successfully that he had fixed the violations before the city’s deadline.

Hearing Officer Kristy Schmidt heard the appeal at hearings Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, with Pini and his attorney, Lawrence Powell, both in attendance.

Administrative citations and fines are imposed by the Community Development Department, and not the City Attorney’s Office, so her decision to revoke the fine “really doesn’t impact the broader action by the City Attorney’s Office,” Schmidt told Noozhawk

The revoked fine applies only to the property on East Gutierrez Street.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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