More than 60 residents showed up to a town council meeting to show their support for OOIDA member Tom Fidger and others who are struggling with code enforcement issues in the high desert community of Littlerock, CA.
Most who attended the Littlerock Town Council meeting on Thursday, July 9, are facing code enforcement actions themselves, including two council members who currently sit on the town council.
One of those council members is Fidger, who has received a final code enforcement letter from Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning. His options are either to move his truck to an area the county deems a “compatible land use” or to pay hefty fines.
Neither option is one Fidger can afford right now.
“I am just trying to keep my head above water,” he said. “Work has been pretty scarce out here, and I can’t afford to pay to park somewhere else.”
While LA County zoning code doesn’t specifically say Fidger can’t have a commercial vehicle parked on his property, it also doesn’t say he can either. This allows code enforcement to “interpret” which home-based businesses are allowed or not allowed to park on their property.
Norm Hickling, who is the Antelope Valley field deputy to Supervisor Michael Antonovich, wasn’t at Thursday’s town council meeting “due to a prior commitment,” but he did say he is dedicated to working to resolve some of the code enforcement issues in Littlerock.
“I have been and will continue to work with the town council on their Community Standard Development,” he wrote in an e-mail to Land Line on Friday, July 10.
In the meantime, Oscar Gomez, who is the supervising regional planner for zoning enforcement for LA County, supplied Land Line with a list of areas in Littlerock and Sun Village that allow commercial vehicle storage. However, even that gets confusing.
“While truck storage may be a permitted use within the industrially-zoned parcels, the truck storage as well as any other type of storage is subject to compliance with applicable zoning provisions,” Gomez wrote in an e-mail.
Fidger, who reviewed some of the properties on the county’s list, said some of these locations are “vacant lots that don’t have lighting or aren’t gated.”
“If I parked my truck and equipment at one of these sites the county suggests, my equipment would be a target for anyone who wanted to make a quick buck by taking my truck or stealing what they wanted from it,” he said. “Then, when I don’t have a truck and I can’t make a living and I can’t pay my bills, they would be on me for that, too.”
While some have moved their trucks off their property because of the fear they will be fined, some just want to work to revise the CSD to come up with a workable plan that the residents and county officials can live with. That is one of the reasons the Antelope Valley Truckers’ Organization, which has about 140 members, was formed.
“Our goal now is to have the town council address the issue and get input from the community so we can all get behind this,” said Fidger, who is the council’s liaison for code enforcement to LA County. “We all have to work together or we are never going to get anywhere.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer