Storage containers in Fern Valley noticed by Code Enforcement

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Two large metal storage containers in Fern Valley Corners have opened a Code Enforcement case and investigation. The containers, part of the business operations of Idyllwild Property Management, are allegedly in violation of county code. Photo by Marshall Smith

Two large metal storage containers in Fern Valley Corners have opened a Code Enforcement case and investigation. The containers, part of the business operations of Idyllwild Property Management, are allegedly in violation of county code.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Riverside County Code Enforcement has issued an advisory notice to Idyllwild Property Management for two storage containers that have been placed in a lot at Fern Valley Corners in apparent violation of county code.

Mary Ortiz, Riverside County CE supervising officer, stressed the investigation is ongoing and that due process must play out, but that a case is currently opened.

The alleged violation is of county Ordinance 348, specifically that “no land, building, or structure shall be used, constructed, altered or maintained except in conformance with the provisions of this title — Illegal Use.”

A subset of the ordinance relating to commercial storage containers, states in section 18.50 (b)(1) that metal shipping containers “shall not be allowed as a principal use in any zone.” Caveats allow temporary placement only when used for storage of equipment for construction or grading on the site in question, when there is a permit for construction on that site.

Ortiz confirmed there is currently no permit for construction on the site. Arn Hancock, who neighbors had seen moving things in and out of the containers, confirmed that his activity was related to business conducted by IPM at the direction of June Rockwell of IPM. “I was just helping them move things,” said Hancock. When contacted by telephone about the containers, Rockwell issued a terse “no comment” and then hung up.

In our Feb. 26, 2015, edition, we reported that IPM planned to open and operate a stacked, two-story storage facility on the narrow lot. At the time, Rockwell estimated it would take a year for plans to be drawn, permits pulled and the facility built. On April 26, we reported the proposed facility faced difficulty. Specifically, as noted by Olivia Balderrama, legislative assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington, it would be difficult to obtain a “Will Serve” letter from the water district. She also said the proposed facility would require a Conditional Use Permit because of zoning and that would also be difficult to obtain.

In contacting the West Hollywood office of IPM owner Moshe (Mo Jacob) Schnapp, his representative said he was aware of the issue but that it is being handled by his employee, June Rockwell, and he has nothing to do with it.

Contiguous neighbors had complained in 2015 when the storage facility had first been proposed because it would be out of keeping with the residences and kinds of business in that area of Idyllwild. They complained again when these two large storage containers were placed on the property several months ago, both to CE and to the county supervisor’s office.

Balderrama said the best solution would be for the alleged violation to be resolved through cooperation and removal of the containers by the owner and/or IPM managers. But failing that, Balderamma suggested there could be fines and forced removal, if CE finds the containers have been placed there illegally.

As part of CE procedure, an inspector must make a visual inspection, and notices of potential violation must be mailed to the property owner of record and other parties of interest.

If it is found there is a violation, and the violating articles are not removed within a stated compliance time, CE will issue administrative citations and consider legal remedies.

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