Regulating homeless encampments around San Diego County
SPRING VALLEY (KUSI) — Crews responded to a brush fire at a homeless encampment in Spring Valley Sunday, raising a lot of concerns regarding the unsanitary conditions.
The land is private property, meaning the government isn’t responsible for the cleanup.
Jessica Northrup of the Land Use and Environment Group, said private property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their property.
Generally, when there is a code violation or other nuisance on private property, it is the private property owner’s responsibility to correct the violation and eliminate the nuisance. This was explained to the HOA when the County met with the Condo HOA and other neighboring property owners last year to discuss the homeless issue in the area. At that meeting, it was explained that the County would maintain its property, and the HOA agreed the property owners would maintain their property. At the time of the meeting last year, the County was not aware of, nor informed about, the presence and level of feces in the encampment as reported in the recent media story. There was also no declared local health emergency for Hepatitis A, so the matter was one of code compliance and property maintenance, not a health safety issue.
When there is an immediate threat to public health and safety, the property owner still remains responsible for their property. However, if the owner does not act, the County can seek a court order authorizing direct action to abate the threat, and can pursue cost recovery from the owner.
The fire broke out at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning at a homeless encampment near Spring Canyon Drive. Crews from San Miguel Fire District were able to put out the fire, which threatened a nearby condominium complex.
The fire threatened the Spring Condominium complex located at 8701 Spring Canyon Dr. in Spring Valley. Hazmat crews were also called to the scene of the fire because of possible contamination of the homeless site.
Hazmat required firefighters to be decontaminated prior to them being released from the fire scene.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was transported to Mercy Hospital.