Port Arthur auto repair shop owner says city's actions threaten his livelihood

 Steve Benjamin says he offers his customers good deals at the auto shop owned by him and his son.

That's why he says his property stays filled with cars waiting to get fixed.

But the city of Port Arthur is calling his shop "an eyesore".

Wednesday morning, code enforcement officers went to Ben's Auto Shop on Bluebonnet Avenue and tagged most of the vehicles there with public nuisance notices, ordering the cars' removal within 10 days.

Benjamin told us, "Some of these cars have been obligated, we took some of their money, it's really making a problem, not just for me, but for the customer. I had to drag these cars back to them half-fixed, because we can't put those cars in storage, it costs too much. They really put a load on us."

The director of code enforcement, Lawrence Baker, says the city is not against  businesses, just wants them to operate within standards, and he says Ben's Auto has none.  Baker says neighbors have complained saying it looks like a parking lot, and that cars are being worked on outside the fenced shop.

But Benjamin says city inspectors also tagged cars within the fenced area, and he believes whether outside or inside he should be able to use all his property to do his job.

Benjamin says he has no intention of fighting the city on this, he says he will comply even though he believes it will hurt his business.

Baker says this is not an isolated incident, he says there are other auto repair and body shops in Port Arthur with too many vehicles cluttering up property and being a nuisance to neighbors.


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