Sunny Acres still in the hot seat



Sunny Acres owner Dan DeVaul got a slight concession from SLO County supervisors to waive some of his permit fees. However, he’s still under heavy county scrutiny and won’t get anything close to a free pass until all the code violations are cleaned up.

County supervisors agreed to waive a conditional use permit fee worth $10,799. The permit would allow DeVaul to add a new housing facility for Sunny Acres residents. The county waived the fee because, despite DeVaul’s code violations and corresponding battles with the county, Sunny Acres is able to help people who can’t find shelter anywhere else.

DeVaul also asked for a waiver of his public facility permit fee. He would need the $9,942 permit for a new farm support building, and while supervisors did not waive the fee, they decided to delay it until DeVaul gets his building permits.

That’s about as far as the board’s generosity went. DeVaul also asked the county to waive a $9,197 building permit fee, but his request was denied because of his existing code issues. DeVaul has often complained of being caught in a Catch 22: He wants to build new housing facilities but can’t get the permits to do so. Officials admitted that DeVaul was caught in a sort of limbo, but wanted DeVaul to get his existing buildings up to code before adding anything new.

Planning officials pointed out that DeVaul has missed two deadlines to clean up all his code violations and hinted that the county is about to step in and simply send a bill. But the consistent saving grace for DeVaul has been the unique service he provides.

In some ways, DeVaul is caught in a tug of war. He wants to build new housing for Sunny Acres residents, some of whom are living in tents after code enforcement officers boarded up one building. The county, on the other hand, won’t allow any additions until the existing buildings are brought up to code.

The board’s decision got a lukewarm response from DeVaul, who was glad to have some of the fees waived, but seemed most interested in the building permits.

“The sad part is that the two buildings they’re not allowing the fee waivers on could be built most immediately,” he said following the hearing on Dec. 9.

—Colin Rigley

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