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DeVaul's collection getting smaller

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Six months ago, SLO County code officers moved people out of broken-down buildings on Dan DeVaul’s Sunny Acres Ranch. Now code enforcement officials have the go ahead to move 26 vehicles as well.

DeVaul says he needs more time. Speaking to SLO County supervisors on Feb. 10, he blamed county officials for putting him through a “never-ending” stream of clean-up tasks. The county’s overly ambitious schedule, he said, prevents him from helping the homeless who live on the ranch because they have nowhere else to go in the county.

“We’re gonna keep you busy for a while,” DeVaul said of the county’s attitude toward him. “So you can forget about the homeless people because we’re going to keep you entertained.”

That argument seems to have lost ground with county supervisors over the eight months since DeVaul was ordered to get his property on the outskirts of SLO up to code. Any sympathy from county supervisors seems to have turned to annoyance, regardless of the services DeVaul provides.

“I find it unfortunate that we have to take these types of actions … but it’s only because Mr. DeVaul insists on operating this way,” Supervisor Jim Patterson said.

The most recent action is the first phase of mandatory cleanup as part of a nuisance abatement order county supervisors approved on July 22. Chief County Code Inspector Art Trinidade said the county has counted more than 100 vehicles on the ranch. In 45 days, code enforcement will have 26 vehicles towed to a storage facility and pass the $3,500 bill to DeVaul, who’ll also have to cover storage costs.

Trinidade called DeVaul’s collection “a hobby that got seriously out of hand.” DeVaul, however, said he uses some of the vehicles as job-training tools for Sunny Acres residents.

For now, whether training tools or classic rides, the cars will soon be shipped out.

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