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Wanted Man

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Dan DeVaul, owner and operator of the Sunny Acres “clean and sober living facility” on Los Osos Valley Road outside of SLO, is being charged by the District Attorney with seven misdemeanor violations of county code. DeVaul, more than accustomed to dealing with county code officials, is not happy, to say the least, with the allegations brought against him.

WANTED MAN::  Dan DeVaul, whose Sunny Acres facility outside of SLO has cared for hundreds of homeless people and addicts, is facing criminal charges related to alleged code violations on his property. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • WANTED MAN:: Dan DeVaul, whose Sunny Acres facility outside of SLO has cared for hundreds of homeless people and addicts, is facing criminal charges related to alleged code violations on his property.
“All these issues have been dealt with one, two, three, four times!,” he said, adding that he believes the charges may have been filed as part of some sort of political scheme to get media coverage during local elections week.

Sunny Acres has been a point of focus with the County Board of Supervisors for more than four years, and DeVaul is beginning to regard the relentless attention as persecution. Steve Jones, a Sunny Acres employee, is of similar mind.

“The way this county has dealt with this [issue] has been very cold, very hard—even heartless,” Jones said. “I’m just praying for justice.”

The charges arise from code citations that range from allegations that people have been unlawfully living in an unpermited converted barn to concerns about storage of dirt and materials on the property.

In a press release from the District Attorney’s Office dated June 2, 2008, DeVaul’s alleged violations are listed as: maintaining a fire hazard; the alteration, use, and occupancy of unsafe structures; unlawful storage of vehicles; importing, dumping, and stockpiling of material; unlawful storage of scrap and junk on the property; violation of a stop work order; and the unlawful use of recreational vehicles for residential use. Jones claims that several of these violations are unfounded, and that that one allegation in particular is completely false: “occupancy of unsafe structures.”

In their announcement, D.A. officials said, “The primary purpose of this prosecution is to protect the health and safety of people living on the property.”

DeVaul is scheduled to appear in court in San Luis Obispo on June 24 at 8:30 a.m. and plans to bring with him a number of photographs and letters as evidence in an attempt to prove to the court that he has done all that he can to satisfy the county’s requests to improve the Sunny Acres property. DeVaul hopes for the best, and says he’s not going down without a fight. According to Jones, “[DeVaul] still believes he’s doing the right thing.”

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