Parking spots are at a premium in West Hollywood. In fact, it’s not unusual to see cars lined up at the West Hollywood branch of the DMV on Formosa Avenue, waiting for a place to park.
Three of the precious DMV parking spots are designated “Hybrid Only.”
Although it might be tempting, no one would dare park a “regular” car in those spaces, especially at the DMV, and risk getting a ticket, right? But are “hybrid only” parking spaces real?
NBC4's Get Garcia team took hidden cameras to the DMV to find out what was going on.
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During twelve visits over several months, the team saw vehicles other than hybrids parking in those spots. When we drove hybrid cars to the DMV and questioned why the spaces apparently meant for us were occupied by “non-green” vehicles, the security guard said his boss did not care.
“The manager says you can park anywhere,” one guard told us.
When NBC4’s Ana Garcia tried to talk to the local DMV, she was referred to headquarters in Sacramento, which sent an email that said, “These signs were in no way mandated by any government authority, therefore the DMV had no legal obligation by statute, rule or otherwise to enforce these signs.”
So why were the signs posted there in the first place? After all, they had been up for four years.
The DMV says it leases the building from Mike Nazarian, the owner of La Brea LLC, and that he installed the unenforceable signs to qualify for certification by the United States Green Building Council, or USGBC. Such certification could make him eligible for tax breaks.
While not bound by law, the USGBC says the signs were simply meant to encourage the use of hybrid vehicles. After we started asking questions about the apparently useless signs, the DMV removed them.
As for Nazarian, the USGBS says his application for “green” certification is still pending.