Our View | Lemons and the Search for an RV Park Solution

Our View

By The Signal Editorial Board

They’re making lemonade out at the Cali Lake RV Resort.
Perhaps not literally, but right now it might seem appropriate to raise a lemonade toast to what is hopefully a brighter future for Cali Lake and its residents, after the county and the state have backed off from an enforcement action — at least for now — that would have shut down unpermitted sites at the RV park, forcing many residents to find another place to live.

The final chapter of the story hasn’t been written yet, but the circumstances that led up to this point have amounted to a bucket of lemons.

The Acton park was originally permitted to have 21 mobile home lots and 26 RV lots, for a total of 47. Such permits and regulations exist for reasons, including sanitation, available resources and infrastructure, and reasonable limitations on land use.

However, over time, it became clear to the park’s ownership and management that, in an era when housing is expensive, particularly in this region, there were many people who looked to Cali Lake as a potential place to park, for an extended period of time. 

Rather than turn them away, Cali Lake made room for them. 

Technically, it was illegal, but the ownership contends they were driven not as much by lawlessness or a profit motive as they were by a desire to provide those people a safe place to live.

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.

There were other code violations, too, all of which led to a September notice from the state that those unapproved sites would need to be unoccupied within 30 days.

So, where would those people go? Homelessness is, of course, a significant problem in Los Angeles County, and no one wants to enforce policies that result in more homeless individuals and families.

Thankfully, cooler heads are prevailing, at least for now, on all sides. L.A. County, with leadership from Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes the Santa Clarita Valley and Cali Lake, is working with the state and extending that grace period to allow the park’s owner and management to correct the code violations and obtain the needed permits to properly add the new sites to the park.  

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

Next week, county and state officials are set to meet with Cali Lake residents and management to discuss the progress and the options. Hopefully, when all is said and done, the RV park’s issues will be legally resolved and the residents will be allowed to remain. For now, at least, it seems as if there are well-meaning people on all sides — the county, the state and the RV park — who want to take a bad situation and make it right.

Lemonade, anyone?  

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