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Sunny Acres gets a reprieve

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It may be the first time in the history of Sunny Acres a new court case has helped residents there.

Dan De Vaul, owner of the self-styled sober living facility just outside San Luis Obispo, filed an appeal on Aug. 30 with the California Second Appellate District in response to SLO County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall’s recent ruling that would have required most of the 30 Sunny Acres residents to leave the ranch by Sept. 3. The appeal puts a temporary hold on Crandall’s order and, in effect, means no one has to leave until there’s a decision.

“Here’s your statement … yipee!!” Sunny Acres spokeswoman Becky Jorgeson wrote in a news release.

“As a result of the stipulation and stay, Sunny Acres will continue to provide a safe and sober program for some 30 clients who do not fit within any other government program and would otherwise be on the streets and in the creeks,” the release continued.

On July 2, Crandall ordered residents to vacate from most of the Sunny Acres structures by Aug. 20. He later approved an extension, allowing residents to stay until Sept. 3. County officials were scheduled to inspect the ranch on Sept. 7, but will no longer conduct those inspections due to the appeal.

“From the county’s standpoint,
the more important question is in the event Mr. De Vaul loses the appeal, will he at long last comply with the county’s request so that he can build the new farmhouse and go forward with his, I don’t know what you want to call it—move forward with his property?” said Terence Cassidy, an attorney with Sacramento-based Porter Scott, who is helping County Counsel with the case.

De Vaul submitted a building permit to construct a 14-bedroom dormitory facility that would allow residents to move out of cabins and RVs that county officials have long said violate county codes.

In fact, some residents have been leaving Sunny Acres in anticipation of a forced eviction, Jorgeson told New Times.

On Aug. 27, Crandall denied Sunny Acres attorney John Belsher’s request to exempt the dairy barn from being shut down. Residents use the barn as a cooking and dining facility. However, the appeal means residents will continue to use that facility, too.

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