Cali Lake RV residents to meet with state, county officials

Carrie, left, and Justin Powers and their seven children have been residents since July at Cali Lake RV Resort on Tuesday, October 01, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
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At least five families have left Cali Lake RV Resort this week after the state issued a notice to suspend the park owner’s permit to operate unless a number of violations are corrected. With a multi-agency meeting coming up, the property owner hopes no more will have to leave as full compliance is achieved, he said Tuesday. 

“We are working with the state and county to see if we can put something better together,” said Cali Lake owner Stewart Silver. “We’re having a town hall meeting to talk about where we stand and hear from the state. There is a real sense of community here, and we’re hoping people won’t have to move out. We’ll comply with everything.” 

The meeting, scheduled Oct. 9, will take place at the park with residents, state and county officials “to make sure that we’re all saying the same thing and that residents all know what the position of the county and state are,” said Edel Vizcarra, the planning and public works deputy for county Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Vizcarra added that he has received several calls from concerned residents about rumored deadlines to vacate Cali Lake. 

Cali Lake RV Resort on Tuesday, October 01, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Danielle Handel was among the residents who said they have heard different information from park management and other tenants.

“Some are saying we have to vacate and then we can come back, and others are saying we won’t be able to return,” she said. “We have nowhere to go. (We’ve been) on the streets since February 2016.”

Under the owner’s current permit, the 14-acre park, located off a rural portion of Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, must only allow for 21 mobile home lots and 26 RV lots with drains to be occupied. 

But a June inspection by the state Department of Housing and Community Development revealed that the park had “constructed 49 unapproved and unpermitted spaces and utilities including electrical, sewer and water connections,” totaling 96 occupied spaces, according to department spokeswoman Alicia Murillo. 

“The department directs the owner/operator to abate and abandon all unapproved lots until such a time as proper procedures, inspections and approvals have been given by the department to operate the additional spaces,” read the Sept. 12 notice, saying the department would suspend the permit 30 days after the date of the notice “unless the previously cited violation(s) are corrected.” 

The park has now been given at least 60 days to correct violations, according to Tress Mattingly, an HCD spokeswoman. Besides exceeding the number of RVs allowed, other violations include illegal dumping and grading. 

Silver said he has cleared previous violations and is working on correcting current ones as he applies for a new permit that would allow for additional RV’s to stay at Cali Lake. He has stated that he allowed for more than the permitted number of vehicles because of people’s emergency situations, including homelessness and job losses. 

The current plan, thanks to a joint effort between the county and state, is to allow residents to remain on the property while Silver processes a new permit and clears violations.

“The agreement we arranged allows RV tenants to remain onsite and not worry about being displaced,” Barger said in a statement Tuesday. “My team has reached out to Assembly member Christy Smith’s office to see if we can achieve a similar arrangement with the state.” 

Smith said Tuesday her office “brought the state Department of Housing and Community Development to the table to find a resolution and allow greater flexibility and time for compliance, following Los Angeles County’s lead. Moving forward, we are all committed to keeping the safety and security of the residents as our top priority.”

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