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Court order could mean evictions at Sunny Acres

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San Luis Obispo County plans to once again clamp down on code violations at Sunny Acres ranch, the sober living facility outside San Luis Obispo owned by Dan De Vaul.

On June 8, the county issued a statement that it would resume enforcement actions against De Vaul and the ranch that will include vacating the structures deemed uninhabitable, shutting off an allegedly contaminated drinking water source (De Vaul and his attorneys contend this assertion), and cleaning hazardous waste on the property.

In effect, the enforcement actions could result in the eviction of Sunny Acres residents, most of whom—if not all—have consistently said they will be homeless if forced to leave.

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall issued a court order in July 2010 that would require Sunny Acres to address the code violations. De Vaul appealed the order before it was put into effect. However, the Second District Court of Appeal turned down the appeal, leaving the door open for the county to reissue Crandall’s order.

“Some of these issues have been resolved; others have been partially resolved,” De Vaul told New Times. “Still other parts of the order may request Sunny Acres to evict people from the property.”

De Vaul said he has no plans to appeal to a higher court. Despite the announcement, there’s no timeline for when the county will begin its enforcement, and, indeed, no description of how the enforcement actions will be carried out.

Deputy County Counsel Nina Negranti said the county is awaiting direction from the court, but hopes for the violations to be cleared before there’s any enforcement action.

“We’ve always been hopeful that there will be voluntary compliance,” she said. “And we still hope that there will be voluntary compliance.”

De Vaul couldn’t say for certain what his next move will be, telling New Times “we’re going to take it one step at a time.”

He’s still awaiting a sentencing hearing for a separate criminal code enforcement case. He faces a remaining 88 days of a 90-day jail sentence.

But Sunny Acres is caught in a limbo of sorts. The nonprofit ranch has an application to build a new housing facility for residents so they can move out of the condemned structures. However, De Vaul said he won’t be allowed to finalize plans for that building until the code violations are cleared in other structures.

“We can’t go ahead and build the new building until we throw out the people that are going to live in the building,” he said.

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