Tehachapi squatters raise safety concerns

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Neighbors along Sears Drive in Golden Hills are trying to get officials to remove a couple who arrived on a recreational vehicle and settled in a parcel next to area homes.

"We know it's a nonoperational vehicle," said Dave Stegall, who lives just down the street.

The couple arrived at the site on Friday, July 4, by tow truck.

The RV does not run, the license plate tags are expired, and the vehicle is not hooked up to any water or gas supply.

The couple are a man identified as Everardo Padilla and an unidentified woman.

Neighbors are worried about their children's safety and a health hazard created by the nonoperational vehicle with the couple living inside.

The RV sits on a piece of land surrounded by homes. Kern County Code Compliance Officer Al Rojas said it is illegal for an occupied RV to be on the parcel.

"It's a land-use violation," said Rojas. He added that it is up to the property owner to remove the RV.

Property owner Ruben Ahumada, of Los Angeles, admits he gave verbal permission to Padilla to house his RV at the property. He said Padilla had fallen on hard times and is disabled. But, Ahumada said he told Padilla to remove the RV in three days.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office is also investigating.

Rojas said an investigator would visit the site on Wednesday and make a determination. If it's determined to be a sanitation issue, Code Enforcement could restrict occupancy of the RV, which means the couple could be locked out.

But, it would then take a 30 day notice to have the RV removed from the property, said Rojas.