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Help De Vaul meet his obligations 


This is an 11th hour appeal to San Luis County to hold off on the evictions of the sober living residents at Sunny Acres, and to proceed with the steps necessary for a permitted 8,000-square-foot house to be built on the De Vaul property.

I realize that the rancorous relationship between the county and De Vaul has led to the current impasse. Frankly, neither the county nor De Vaul are blameless in this state of affairs.

Since I doubt De Vaul has all the money to fully meet the county’s requirements for septic, geological reviews etc., I would like to step up and suggest that a fund be established to help him meet these obligations. The best way to do this would be set up either an escrow or donation account at a local banking institution, to which I will offer the initial “seed” money: $1,000.

Members of the community may wish to match or exceed that, but all donations in the amounts of $50 or $100 would be welcome. De Vaul would not have access to this money for any purpose except site planning and eventual construction, and I would volunteer to monitor its use (or his lawyer could). You can contact me at if you wish to assist with this project.

As to my personal motivations in doing this, in 1995, after touring Ken and Polly Haggard’s architectural offices in Santa Margarita, and learning of their interest in strawbale housing, I took a workshop on the method in eastern Washington state and applied for a building permit for a home on my five acres near Goldendale. I planned to have a workshop to raise the 2,500-square-foot house. Despite architectural and engineering (and community) support, the project was turned down (at the 11th hour).

I lost everything and nearly became homeless myself.

Perhaps my small gesture is too little, too late, but I believe that at this point a spirit of mutual cooperation is still possible, and that the failure to reach a compromise will simply result in a tragedy all around (when my project failed, it led to the suicide of my dear wife).

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