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Bids to be sought for Sunny Acres cleanup 

County Code Enforcement officials say that, despite his cleanup efforts, Dan DeVaul hasn’t done enough to get his Sunny Acres recovery center into compliance with county codes. Now, they say, they’ll have the work done for him. Then they’ll send him the bill or put a lien on his property.

click to enlarge DAN DEVAUL :  County Code Enforcement officials plan to put out bids to remove vehicles and stored items from the ranch property at Dan DeVaul’s Sunny Acres recovery center. - FILE PHOTO
  • DAN DEVAUL : County Code Enforcement officials plan to put out bids to remove vehicles and stored items from the ranch property at Dan DeVaul’s Sunny Acres recovery center.

Marie Cowan, a senior code investigator, said the county plans to put out bids to have commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, several mobile homes, and other outdoor storage items removed from the Los Osos Valley Road property.

In a Nov. 18 letter, Cowan told DeVaul that he hadn’t met a July 22 abatement order issued by the Board of Supervisors that demanded cleanup by October.

The order also demanded that he reduce the amount of storage visible to an area no larger than 1,000 square feet on the 72-acre ranch.

The order, however, contained ambiguities. For example, it stated that he must “remove all commercial vehicles from the property,” but went on to say that staff would determine which vehicles were “reasonably necessary for ranch use ”

A similar stipulation was made for the stored passenger vehicles. Code officials say he can only have two vehicles but, again, said staff would determine how many are “reasonably necessary.”

In a recent tour of DeVaul’s ranch, it was obvious that there are commercial and passenger vehicles on the property, but there are dozens fewer than there were months ago. DeVaul has long contended that code and law allow him to have vehicles on the property used for farming and ranching.

“Unfortunately, he has failed to comply with the board order to date, and we don’t have any other choice other than to do what the board has ordered us to do,” Cowan said.

Still, the Board of Supervisors, she said, will have the final say in approving the bids.

DeVaul, for his part, said he’s beyond frustrated with code officials after working with community volunteers and Sunny Acres residents to scrap dozens of vehicles, plant screening trees, and make other efforts to meet the order while still running the Sunny Acres center. He said that before he received the letter he felt code officials were working with him to speed permitting issues, for example. No more.

“These SOBs are stuffing me down, stuffing me down, and not letting me build affordable housing for people who need it,” DeVaul said.

About 23 people are currently staying at the sober-living facility. After the county closed a stucco barn that had been operating as a dormitory and padlocked several mobile homes and RVs, most people moved into a farmhouse on the property nine or so are living in tents. The stucco barn is the subject of yet another order. DeVaul has until the end of the year to bring it up to code.

Meanwhile, DeVaul is also facing a criminal prosecution for the code violations and he’s appealing an earlier decision that centered on his selling Christmas trees from the center’s roadside stand.


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