x
Breaking News
More () »

Ramona RV residents to be forced off property due to a zoning issue

Two dozen RV park residents are scrambling to find a new place to live after they learned their landlord is shutting down the park due to lack of correct permit.

RAMONA, Calif. — On a tight deadline to move out from a lot at 514 Maple Street in Ramona, residents received a notice on their RV’s saying that all power, water and sewer service will be cut off Aug. 1.

"This stress is just killing some of us. We are having trouble finding places to move to, and we have kids, I got my 17-year-old, I don't want her to be homeless, and that's where we are all going to end up on the first,” said Teresa Chapman, who has been living at the Maple Street lot since October 2020.

Property manager Chris Pozek said he has to get everyone out or else he'll face steep fines for not having the proper RV permits.

"I have to close the operation down per the county, it is not zoned for it, so I have to shut it down. This isn't me, this is the county, they're going to and they sent a letter to start fining me and everything, and obviously, we cannot afford being fined $1,000 a day,” Pozek said.

Pozek said he got emailed authorization from the county to run an RV park there, but a spokesperson from San Diego County says that it did not grant permission, but an RV park permit requires 3 acres minimum while the Ramona land is 2.8 acres.

News8 first featured Pozek's "Patriotic Villages" RV Park as a solution for homelessness back in May, where Pozek planned to build “eco-tainers” and use solar panels.

“I don’t want to throw anybody out as far as I am concerned, but the county is judge, jury and executioner,” Pozek said by phone.

Single mom of three Belinda Hodges said she will probably move into a tiny home with her family next week.

“I don’t want any other family to go through what we’re going through. He says he's an advocate for the homeless, but he's putting like 20-something people out on the streets,” Hodges said.

The residents feel caught in the middle of a permitting dispute.

“There's low income people here, there are seniors, there are disabled, there are veterans, and there are a lot of single moms with little kids down to an 8-month old, we don’t want to end up living in our cars,” said Chapman, who pays about 1,200 a month to rent an RV.

Tenants living in the 24 RV's in Ramona say it is the cheapest place you can live in San Diego.

Chloe McCrea, 12, said her mother has to work two jobs to barely make ends meet.

“She comes home every day tired and exhausted from work, and every night she comes home crying. We’re in a tough situation, and I hope and hope, please God help us,” McCrea said.

McCrea’s mother, Jamie Lindenmeyer, has been paying $1,350 to live in a travel trailer with low water pressure.

“I am going to be homeless at this point, I’m being forced to stay with a friend. I can find nowhere else in San Diego to stay on my own. I am a single mom of three kids," Lindenmeyer said.

Other children living there say the rushed two-week notice greatly impacts them.

“I am stressed, and I'm worried I have gotten more depressed, and I had to up my meds because of it. I wish we didn’t have to move because we used to live at a trailer park that had drug addicts and rapists, and I was sexually assaulted there,” said 17-year-old Amber Chapman.

The County of San Diego Land Use & Environment group communications officer Donna Durckel released this statement in part:

This property is leased to Mr. Pozek who has been operating an unpermitted RV Park at the location. County staff received a complaint on May 12 regarding an unpermitted RV park and opened a Code Compliance case. After visiting the site, staff issued a stop-work order and compliance notice on May 27 notifying him that he needed permits for electrical work he was completing and for the RV park. Those that live here have also complained about issues with water and electric service. Our goal is to protect the health and safety of the residents.

Mr. Pozek contacted the County in September 2020 to inquire what would be required to secure the permits to establish a legal RV Park that ensures the health and safety of occupants. The County responded with the permit requirements at that time. We had no further follow up from Mr. Pozek until we received complaints in May 2021. The County has not set any deadlines for tenants to move out nor directed such. Mr. Pozek e-mailed us on July 15 that he would not be applying for permits and would shut down on August 1.

Code compliance staff have also engaged the County’s Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) to help residents identify resources that may be available to them. We are currently working with Mr. Pozek to get approval for HHSA to visit the property next week.

Residents put together a Facebook Page called "Maple Residents" to discuss any possible resources.

WATCH RELATED: Wanting to solve homelessness, Ramona man is building “Patriotic Villages”