County and state: Cali Lake tenants will not be displaced

Cali Lake RV Resort owner, Stewart Silver, left, displays his paperwork with Los Angeles County representatives before a meeting with residents to discuss the future of Cali Lake RV Resort in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, October 09, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

After several weeks of fearing possible homelessness, several dozen Cali Lake RV Resort tenants applauded the good news county and state officials brought them Wednesday: that they wouldn’t have to vacate the park as the owner undergoes a new permit process. 

“(County Supervisor Kathryn Barger) certainly does not want anyone to be homeless, but at the same time, we want to make sure that the environment that you’re in and your health and welfare are cared for,” said Stephanie English, field deputy for Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes Acton’s rural roads along Soledad Canyon where the park is located. “So, we’ve brought everybody to the table to answer your questions.”

English and several other county department officials, as well as representatives with state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, organized a meeting with Cali Lake owner Steward Silver to assure residents they will be able to remain on the property, offer health and job resources, and dispel rumored deadlines to leave the area due to a number of violations.

The owner’s current permit on the 14-acre park allows for only 21 mobile home lots and 26 RV lots with drains to be occupied but the acceptable number has been exceeded by double the amount. Other violations, which were all cited by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, included illegal dumping and grading. 

Cali Lake RV Resort resident Kathy Shapiro, center, asks a question of state and county representatives during a meeting with residents to discuss the future of Cali Lake RV Resort in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, October 09, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

A Sept. 12 notice of violation by HCD said that the owner had 30 days to correct violations or face a permit suspension and remove all unapproved lots. But through cooperation from Silver to reach compliance, he said he was happy to see the county, state and legislators reach an agreement to allow tenants to remain onsite. 

The new permit Silver has applied for will allow for 103 spaces for people to either stay permanently or seasonally. The entire process will require a public hearing, and planning and environmental reviews, which could take at least 12 months before all is complete, according to Samuel Dea with the county’s Department of Regional Planning. 

“We’re committed 100%,” said Silver to government officials. “Whatever we need to do and as much money as it costs us, we’re willing to move forward to make sure that it gets done so everyone has a home.”

And tenants backed him up, saying the park is more than just a place to station their RVs. It’s home, a place they have built up together, held a wedding, rescued a horse and even welcomed two newborn babies.

“Cali Lake saved my life,” said Lacey Borland, one of the tenants who said the Action park was the only place that accepted them, even though they had an RV older than 10 years — a rule many upscale parks enforce to disallow vehicles considered too weathered or worn out. 

County officials were asked to consider allowing more places like Cali Lake, considering the county is in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis. Edel Vizcarra, planning and public works deputy for Barger, said the county is looking at revisiting a discussion about policy with respect to RVs. 

Silver announced the School on Wheels program would soon be available for Cali Lake RV’s homeschooled children. The nonprofit organization tutors children living in shelters, motels or vehicles. School-bus pickup services are also planned, he said.

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