A property owner in Monterey County is facing dozens of citations and nearly $60,000 in fines after more than 200 people were found living in several unsafe “greenhouse-like” structures.
Officials discovered several greenhouses on the 1100 block of San Miguel Canyon Road in Royal Oaks that had “serious implications for life, health and safety” and began “working with the property owner to address these concerns,” officials stated in a press release.
On Wednesday, an administrative citation was issued in the case that lays out details, including violations and enforcement, according to county spokesperson Maia Carroll. The Monterey County Housing and Community Development addressed the list to Nicolas and Ana Ruvalcaba, which included substandard propane tanks and lines, no emergency exits, installation of water lines and septic tanks without permits, accumulation of rubbish, illicit discharge and open drainage pipes, removal of protected oak trees, and numerous other issues.
“We are currently working to provide appropriate alternative services,” said Nicholas M. Pasculli, Monterey County communications director. “We take this matter seriously and are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents in Monterey County. For child welfare purposes, our primary objective is to assist in providing access to eligible resources for which residents may be able to apply.”
In a followup press release, Pasculli said, “We want to inform the public that the property owner has received notices of violation from the County’s Housing and Community Development and Environmental Health Bureau for the numerous health, safety and building violations on the property.”
To date, the County has imposed a fee of $59,600, fees that will continue to increase per day while the violations remain on the property.
No criminal charges or arrest warrants have been filed.
“The County takes these violations very seriously, and we will continue to hold the property owner accountable for their actions,” Pasculli said.
The County of Monterey is requiring that the landlord provide two months of relocation assistance at fair market value for every family occupying the estimated 62 make-shift dwellings on the property per the Monterey County Code.
“This is necessary to ensure that these families are able to find safe, suitable housing during this difficult time,” Pasculli said.
County agencies are working with the families to provide resources and referrals to local nonprofit agencies, such as the Family Resource Center, to ensure that their basic human needs are being addressed.
The investigation is ongoing.
“We encourage anyone with information about any other inappropriate housing situations to report it immediately,” Pasculli said.
Anyone with information is asked to call 796.3094.