By Scott Graves
Triplicate staff writer
The owner of White Rock Cabins Resort in Smith River is battling Del Norte County officials once again.
This time, owner Alan Murray and the county disagree on whether the trailer cabins on his property are legal, and if they pose a threat to the coastline.
The county recently filed a lawsuit against Murray and 18 other cabin owners, asking a judge to determine who is right.
The lawsuit also seeks a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction that would bar Murray and the others from placing any more structures on the property, replace existing structures and from offering any cabins for sale, lease or rent.
Murray has until mid-July to respond to the lawsuit.
The county had spent many months trying to resolve the issue with Murray outside of court, but to no avail, said Jack Reese, chairman of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors
Its unfortunate that it has to go this far, Reese said on Thursday. Its a matter of interpreting the law. Mr. Murray interprets it differently than we do.
Murray, who said he operates several other RV resorts in California and Oregon, said it was the county that is confused about the laws.
He also accused the county of wasting taxpayer money by filing the lawsuit.
Instead of trying to work it out, theyve decided to take it to court, Murray said. If they want a battle, then well give them a battle.
Reese said he liked the idea of the resort. Its a neat idea, if it had been done right.
If we dont do something about this now, then it could pop up in other areas of the county.
The crux of the disagreement is whether the resorts park model trailers are mobile or permanent, said County Counsel Bob Black.
In 1995, Murray placed at least 20 cabin-type trailers on his property, located along Highway 101 just south of the California/Oregon border. Murray has sold, leased or rented the cabins since then.
During that time, the cabins have been modified in such a way that they no longer qualify as mobile recreational vehicles, Black said.
The county granted Murray the original permit for the cabins based on the fact that they were temporary, he said.
Now, the 400-square-foot-plus structures exceed the approved 12-foot width, 40-foot height and none presently have a towbar, wheels, wheel hubs or axles, Black said.
The modified cabins are in violation of the original county permit and a California Health and Safety Code, he said.
This is not the first time Murray has run afoul of county officials.
Earlier this year, Murray was ordered by the California Coastal Commission to remove rocks that he had illegally dumped over a bluff to protect some of the cabins.
Concerned residents near the resort had noticed the rocks and contacted county officials, who, in turn, contacted the state officials.
The Coastal Commission ruled that Murray had violated state and law and ordered him to remove the rocks. The county recently approved Murrays plan to do so. His plan is scheduled to go before the Coastal Commission on July 17.