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Condo Camp-Out Ends in Simi Valley

October 10, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

About 60 families camping on a street in Simi Valley in hopes of buying a new, $350,000 condominium were forced to break down their tent city to make way for road work, officials said Thursday.

Many of those in line, including seniors and a pregnant woman, had been camping on Sycamore Drive since last weekend for a chance to purchase one of 20 "affordable" condominiums scheduled to go on sale Saturday just north of the Ronald Reagan Freeway.

But city crews needed to complete work on Sycamore Drive that required grinding asphalt next to the curb where campers had established their temporary community. Officials from the city and developer Beazer Homes USA talked about relocating the campers to another area at the site but decided it would be best for everyone to go home, said Public Works Director Tim Nanson.

"With rocks and dust and everything else loosened by that machine, we just couldn't have it," Nanson said. "We didn't think pregnant moms or other people should be close to the grinding operation."

In addition, Beazer wanted to landscape the area where the potential homeowners were camping, Nanson said.

A Beazer representative took a list of 61 names and phone numbers from campers Tuesday night and promised the hopefuls they would get first crack at the condos, said Simi Valley resident Linda Siemen, whose son, Jason, was second in line.

The Beazer official told the campers to return Saturday for the grand opening, Siemen said. A Beazer spokeswoman was not available for comment.

Beazer Homes plans to build 108 condominiums in Sycamore Shade. Only 20 will be sold in the first phase. The homes will be priced in the mid-$300,000s, considered affordable in a city where the median price of a newly built home is $850,000.

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