Owners of outdoor storage yards along The Old Road and Castaic Rd. in Castaic will need to install screened fences like this one in response to complaints to Los Angeles County. Photo by Patrick Mullen.
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The owner of an outdoor storage yard on The Old Road in Castaic will install screening fences to shield views of the yards from passing drivers and comply with county zoning rules.

Complaints that Old Road Storage and other similar businesses along The Old Road and Castaic Road are eyesores began after retail outlets on the site closed, according to Lloyd Carder II, president of the Castaic Area Town Council.

The property, on the west side of The Old Road across the I-5 from the Castaic Sports Complex, formerly had a California FountainScapes store and garden shop and nursery.

“I complained to the county, but nothing happened for a while,” Carder said. “It looks like the auto junkyards down in Sylmar. The issue is pretty easy. When a business changes how it uses the property, they need to get a new Conditional Use Permit from the county.”

The 10-member town council, one of 17 such bodies in Los Angeles County, advises the county Board of Supervisors on local issues in unincorporated parts of the county. Retired 5th District Supervisor Michael Antonovich spearheaded their creation in the 1990s.

The property’s owner, Deke Pike, is working with the county Department of Regional Planning on the specifics of new fencing and signage.

“We’re getting into compliance,” Pike said, adding that in his view, the land’s current use is consistent with its zoning and existing conditional use permit. He bought the land, about 15 acres on three contiguous lots, five years ago. He also owns RMR Water Trucks on Castaic Road.

“I expect it will take about a year to get all paperwork and approvals from the county squared away and another year before all the work is done,” Pike said.

He said the county planning department has advised him to wait for final approval before beginning any work.

Rosalind Wayman, senior deputy to 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, updated the council at its monthly meeting Wednesday night about the zoning violations. The county issued a notice of violations last August.

The intent of the zoning rules is “to create a more pleasing environment for residents of the community and for commuters along The Old Road,” she said.

Compliance won’t be cheap. Pike estimates he’ll spend more than $30,000 on the project.

That includes between $9,000 and $10,000 for a new conditional use permit, $2,500 for other county fees, the cost of an engineer who is preparing construction drawings and working with the county through the approval process, along with the actual cost of new fencing and other required changes.

Even then, Pike concedes that the view be better, but not perfect. Drivers on the elevated interstate will still be able to see over the eight-foot tall fence.

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Patrick Mullen
After growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., and living in Cleveland for two decades, Patrick Mullen is enjoying Southern California’s weather, even with the rain. He covered the health care industry for 15 years, with a focus on managed care.
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