<a href="https://gf.me/u/y42jkr.">Go Fund Me account</a>
Cavalier's fire lane entrance on Stewart Street is only 0.8 miles from Oceanside fire station No. 2.
Bree Shook says a kind of class warfare has erupted between her 1,000 neighbors in the Cavalier Mobile Home Estates and the traditional homeowners who live in the South Oceanside neighborhood that overlooks them. “They basically said you’re trash and you don’t get to use our roads.”
A group of South Oceanside homeowners surrounding Stewart and Laguna Streets launched a Go Fund Me page and raised $5000 to build a gate that would prevent traffic from entering their neighborhood from Cavalier’s Hillside Lane. Those neighbors quietly worked behind the scenes to get the gate erected on October 5.
The mobile home tenants were never officially notified that they would no longer be able to use Hillside Lane also used for emergency access. Cavalier park owner Brian Alex was not notified until three days before gate construction began.
South Oceanside homeowners surrounding Stewart and Laguna Streets launched a Go Fund Me page and raised $5000 to build a gate.
Cavalier’s main entrance on Oceanside Boulevard just west of I-5 is now the only way to get in or out of the 373-home park. It is blocked four times an hour when the Sprinter shuttle passes by.
The Stewart Street neighbors who put up the gate say that Cavalier’s Hillside Lane funneled too much high-speed, cut-through traffic into their neighborhood. Shook says that claim was overblown and certainly not worth closing off the road which is needed for emergencies. “Having less traffic for them is not worth our safety. What if we need an ambulance or we have a fire? Blocking that road means bottleneck. That extra two or three minutes it takes a fire truck to get here could mean life or death.”
“I told the city the same thing,” says Cavalier resident Dennis Eller. “I told them a lock on the gate could be construed in court as a delay to get to Cavalier residents in an emergency.”
At 11 pm on Tuesday October 13, a fire started in the back wall of Mike Broeker’s home at 231 Blue Springs Lane.
“It started in the bedroom closet because of old aluminum wiring in the wall,” says Arden Miller who is a friend of Broeker. “He got out but didn’t know if his son had gotten out, so he ran back in.” Miller points to the blood when he was cut by a broken sliding glass door. “He inhaled a lot of smoke.” Broeker was airlifted to Scripps La Jolla where he remains in critical condition. His son Legend and his mother were not hurt.
Some Cavalier residents have a number of questions. Some noted that one fire truck showed up at the fire lane entrance but did not have a key to get in the newly installed gate and had to go around to the front.
“The fire started in the bedroom closet because of old aluminum wiring in the wall.”
That is true, says Oceanside Fire Division Chief of Community Risk David Parsons. But Parsons explains that truck was sent only as a back-up by the Vista Fire Department and was not a first responder.
Cavalier's fire lane entrance on Stewart Street is only 0.8 miles from Oceanside fire station No. 2. Why did the truck from the station No. 2 instead take the Coast Highway route to Cavalier’s front gate which is 1.4-miles away and has six intersections with traffic lights?
“The routing choices we make has to do with the time of the day and knowledge of the roads,” says Parsons. He says the dips and road humps on Stewart Street might actually make the shorter route take longer.
Division Chief Parsons says the first responder arrival time of 5:53 was “…within our standards.”
Miller says he anticipates a lawsuit over the fire lane gate. “We know for a fact that the owner of the park has an attorney looking into this. We don’t always see eye to eye with him, but we are in complete agreement on this.”
Cavalier resident Eller says he is particularly miffed that the South O homeowners who paid for the gate have not even provided a gate key to Cavalier.
Cavalier manager Maricella Aquino says she can not comment on any potential lawsuit but that she is still waiting for a promised gate key. She says owner Brian Alex was not available for comment.
Mike Broeker and his son Legend
One of the South O residents who spearheaded the project is named Jim. He says he does not want to use his last name because of threats he has received since the gate went up. He says the gate was needed because the 100 cars a day that used to use the emergency access road for regular trips caused speeding traffic that made his South O neighborhood unsafe for children. “One of our neighbors was burglarized in the middle of the night. He woke to find someone in his house and was stabbed twice trying to hold the individual for the police.”
“What does that have to do with us?” asks Miller. “And how could he get threats when no one knows who he is?”
The fire lane was gated off for most of the last 50 years but was opened to through traffic about two-and-a-half years ago. Stewart Street neighbor Jim says he could not convince Cavalier to put the gate back up. Jim and his neighbors discovered that the top ten feet of the fire lane was actually owned by Barbara Villasenor who lives in the sprawling rancho estate at the north end of Stewart Street. She divorced from author Victor Villasenor 25 years ago. The two split ownership of the hillside residence.
Barbara Villasenor was recently convinced by the South O neighbors to let them re-erect the gate on her property at the top of the fire lane if they paid for it.
“Much of that traffic made the area dangerous and there have been accidents,” says Villasenor. “You know what they say, good fences make good neighbors. We’re aware some people are upset about the gate, on the other hand we have heard from many more people from Cavalier about how much they appreciate the gate and their safer, quieter streets.”
Oceanside’s deputy city manager Jonathan Borrego fast-tracked the gate’s permit approval. The Cavalier gate got no city council or planning commission review and the Cavalier residents were not in the loop. He was out of town and not available for comment.
I pointed out to Villasenor that some of the Cavalier neighbors down below have complained that the hillside above them owned by the Villasenors is full of dead trees and brush that could fuel a fire. “Yes, that is something that is being dealt with,” she says.
Jim admits that Cavalier residents are continuing to park up above in his South O neighborhood and then walk down the fire lane to their mobile home. Jim says based on conversations he has had with city staff, he is confident that after the first of the year the city will issue permits so that only South O residents who live in the Stewart Street neighborhood will be allowed to park on city streets near their homes.
One Oceanside staffer who did not want to be named says that the city only allows permit parking for city streets in “very rare occasions” and that it probably will not happen in South O.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Mike Broeker.