Encampment in Backyard Raises Concern of Neighbors

An encampment has been set up behind a home in the city, much to the chagrin of neighbors on Windsor Place.

The issue came before the City Council in December when local homeowners Randy Troast and Erik Gammell, both residents of the quiet street off Monterey Road near Fremont Avenue, expressed concern during public comment about huge tarps strung between trees covering personal belongings of a least one person living in the backyard of the property.

“The council has heard testimony from residents expressing concern in regards to their neighbor, who has a house that is vacant, but people are living in the backyard,” explained Sergio Gonzalez, South Pasadena’s city manager. “The neighbors feel like they’re not safe, that their privacy is being invaded, and they want the City Council to intervene and help them.”

Gonzalez met with Troast and Gammell recently.  “Residents should have easy and quick access to city staff and they have my commitment and will have all hands on deck, and that every city department that could help is going to be engaging, from the Police Department, Public Works and even the city attorney,” explained the city manager. “I have received communication from the property owner that he is seeking a restraining order against the person living in the backyard.

Gonzalez stressed that “it’s not a crime to be homeless, but it’s certainly not a great situation for the neighbors,” noting that social service programs and services are available.

“We certainly want to make sure that they get the services they need, however, we have to be very mindful of the quality of life and safety of those next-door and the safety of those actually living in those conditions,” added Gonzalez. “So obviously, this issue involves a multi-prong approach. You have the private property owner and then you have city departments that would engage, so we’re working on many different angles to deal with the situation in the most expedited manner as possible. Right now it’s going to take the property owner to be more proactive. The city is going to make sure that the property owner will follow through on efforts to clear the backyard.”

A knock on the door of the home to speak to the owner went unanswered on Sunday afternoon.

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