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Sunny Acres appeal rattles supes

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When Dan De Vaul appealed a court order that would have evicted many of the 30 residents at his Sunny Acres sober living facility, evictions were effectively delayed until the appeal is decided. But on another front, San Luis Obispo County supervisors refused to hear De Vaul’s plea to avoid building permit fees for a new 8,000-square-foot dormitory.

Voting unanimously to continue De Vaul’s request for a fee waiver until his appeal is decided, county supervisors agreed with their legal counsel to hold off on a decision until De Vaul’s case is lost or won on appeal.

“The concern that we have is, with an appeal pending, Mr. De Vaul is attempting to completely undo the enforcement proceedings,” County Counsel Warren Jensen told supervisors.

On Aug. 30, De Vaul filed an appeal with California’s Second Appellate District in response to SLO County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall’s court order that would have forced residents to leave the ranch.

De Vaul has turned in most of the paperwork to build a 14-bedroom facility at Sunny Acres, allowing residents to move from structures that have been the subject of most of the ranch’s legal battles. County officials claim structures on the property are unfit for human habitation.

“It would be an extreme travesty if you shut down this project or postponed it,” De Vaul said before supervisors made their decision.

But his request was swiftly and handily shut down.

“A building permit cannot issue when you have those types of violations on site,” Deputy County Counsel Nina Negranti told New Times.

Before the appeal, county officials were prepared to decide whether to waive De Vaul’s building permit fees. And it was only the appeal that made county officials skittish. Negranti said there would have been no issue if the original court order was denied.

County planner John Busselle explained that De Vaul can still submit a permit if he pays the fees (De Vaul has said previously the fees come to about $13,000), but added that the county is still waiting on a septic plan before it will move forward with
the application. He declined to say whether staff would have recommended to waive the fees before the appeal.

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