Planning Commissioner and neighbor face off over fence


Perhaps disproving the line from Robert Frost that good fences make good neighbors, a fence built by a neighbor of Planning Commissioner Charleen Kabrin has ignited a feud between the two and led to a flurry of complaints filed with government officials, one of which accuses Kabrin of zoning and building code violations on her property.

The trouble began when Ron Rocco, who recently moved next door to Kabrin’s Point Dume home, built a fence along his property without the city’s approval.

Kabrin complained to building department officials and Rocco has now been ordered to take it down. Kabrin also notified the city biologist that Rocco removed what she believes was native vegetation and what he calls weeds.

And making matters worse for Rocco, he may have encroached on Kabrin’s property when he built the fence, so he now has to hire a land surveyor to determine the property line.

“She threw me to the dogs,” said Rocco, who has fired back with his own ammunition.

He complained to the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control about Kabrin’s pigs, goats and chickens. He also complained that wild peacocks — which he says squawk too loud, defecate on his roof and scare his 3-year-old daughter — are hanging out in the neighborhood because of food left out on Kabrin’s property.

“Last week, a peacock jumped over the fence and chased my 3-year-old into the house,” he said.

But the allegation most damaging to Kabrin as a planning commissioner is Rocco’s claim that she has three illegal rental units on her property.

Rocco, who has filed his own complaint with the building department, says he can see three structures separate from her house that he believes are occupied by tenants. Two people who live on Kabrin’s property introduced themselves as her tenants, Rocco said.

For her part, Kabrin said she knew only that a complaint had been filed against her, but she did not know the nature of the allegation or who filed it. She said last week, three city inspectors came to her home and asked her questions, including inquiries about the number of people living on her property.

“I don’t know what this is about,” she said.

When told the complaint concerned claims that three structures on her property are impermissibly rented out to tenants, she said, “Obviously, someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about. If they had checked the records, they would see that everything that is here is permitted.”

City officials refused to discuss the case because it is still pending. Kabrin said she was told the investigation would be finished and a report prepared by the end of the week.

As to the nonhuman occupants of Kabrin’s property, that issue was apparently resolved in her favor. The farm animals are permitted on Point Dume. And the county animal control department originally ordered Kabrin to obtain a permit to feed the peacocks, but late last week withdrew the order because the birds are wild.