Cali Lake residents face pending deadline  

Stewart Silver, owner of Cali Lake RV Resort in Agua Dulce, describes the area containing the motorhomes in question that would have to vacate the RV park on Thursday, Sept. 22. Dan Watson/The Signal

Updates with information from the Department of Housing and Community Development

L.A. Homeless Services Authority officials were at Cali Lake RV Resort on Monday ahead of a deadline the park was given to meet its revised occupancy permit.   

The owner of the park said he’s seeking more time for his residents, including some who aren’t having an easy time relocating from the park east of Santa Clarita, south of Agua Dulce.  

State officials said in a statement Monday afternoon an extension would be possible, if the park’s owner makes a good-faith effort to correct the violations ahead of a July inspection. 

The park’s operators said the state’s changing rules regarding evictions has made the transition to 47 spots down from 103 a challenge, as the state’s order requires the park to eliminate the infrastructure in place for the spots, including its hookups. 

But the park has been trying, moving about 10 out per month, according to Michele Savino, Cali Lake’s office manager who’s also a tenant. 

State officials say the park’s owner is “knowingly collecting rents for locations not in compliance with health and safety,” according to an email obtained by The Signal. The same email made a distinction regarding Cali Lake’s side of the story — the agency said it has no authority to evict anyone at their planned inspection June 19. They’re making it illegal for the landlord to collect rent if the park is noncompliant after that date. 

Cali Lake’s operators also said they were warned of fines that could equate to thousands of dollars per day if they didn’t comply in time. 

A Monday email from Jennifer Hanson in the communications office for the state’s Housing and Community Development Department referred to years of effort to get Silver’s park in compliance prior to this month’s deadline. The email also pointed out that if the deadline is not met, the resulting action would be a suspension of the operating permit, not a revocation. 

Hanson also pointed out Silver’s permit for 103 spaces was conditioned on local land-use approval, which was not granted.  

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, authored a motion for Tuesday’s meeting to look closely at the situation, assessing the number of residents impacted, spaces available, an overview of tenant protections and how the county might help. 

Barger’s motion calls for a report-back date for county staff of June 27. 

A notice shared by Cali Lake officials notes the deadline for the next inspection from the state HDC, which oversees mobile home parks, is June 19.  

“(Barger) wants to hear back from (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) as to how their outreach has fared and what have been the outcomes,” said Helen Chavez, Barger’s director of communications, in a phone interview Monday.  

Barger initially requested information in front of the board about the park’s situation in November. 

At that time, a county Department of Regional Planning presentation discussed the state’s reasoning in its decision to reduce the occupancy, namely that the property is in a floodplain as well as being in a High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, according to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.  

Stewart Silver, owner of the park, said Monday his main business is Avon, a vehicle-rental company, and he hasn’t taken a profit from Cali Lake in about four years. He wants to create as safe of a location as possible for his residents, while making sure the environment is safe, he said. 

Silver doesn’t want to displace anyone, and his park offers its residents a safe place and a community, he said, and three more months would go a long way in helping them transition to their new homes safely.  

“We agreed to go down to the 47 spaces that we were supposed to go down to,” Savino said. “The problem is, we were supposed to start in January, because the (eviction) moratorium was supposed to end on Dec. 31.” 

When the moratorium got extended until March 31, that meant the park couldn’t begin the eviction process until April. Park operators said that just isn’t enough time. 

Troy Gay, a park resident battling prostate and thyroid cancer, wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of moving, but noted the county officials he just had spoken to were going to try to help him relocate. 

His RV runs, but part of the challenge for him is that the family that lives in the spot next to his essentially acts as his caretaker. 

“Everybody’s like family here — that’s why I’ve been staying,” he said, adding his health situation has made things difficult and he was one of the 11 residents with a notice who have yet to move. “This is more family to me than my family was.” 

Savino said that, after the notice was sent out, almost a dozen residents found other places, but some have had a hard time finding a new park. Many parks have 10-year rules that forbid RVs built more than a decade ago from parking. 

And, as a result, many can be seen on the street, she said, adding a number of the park’s former residents are now parked in a line near the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Roxford Street in Sylmar, where they are parked and living on the street. 

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