The Muir Lodge attractive nuisance and fire danger situation

In July of 2020 Charles Lammers and Lisa Edelheit, who live across the highway from the Muir Lodge, took me on a tour of the lodge to show how dangerous the conditions were there, especially the fire risk.

As we visited building after building the destruction was terrible. This was not just vandalism as it is often described in the newspaper, but theft as plumbing and copper wires were being removed from walls, etc.

When we checked the PG&E meter on the side of one of the buildings we were amazed to see that it was “live” and it seemed that someone had bypassed to meter to “steal” the electricity.

Given the overall condition of the wiring at the site as a whole the situation seemed particularly dangerous. That same day I called my contact at PG&E and asked that they de-energize the site to reduce the fire danger and perhaps make the site a bit less “livable” as it was also obvious that people were sleeping there.

After this visit, I discussed the Muir Lodge situation with our County Code Enforcement people and indeed they had been and were continuing to send letters to the owner threatening legal action, which was all the County could do about the situation.

As the situation at the lodge continued to deteriorate, this year I asked Calfire to do a defensible space inspection at the site. They did and as a result Calfire sent a notice to the owner informing him that he is out of compliance with the requirements. Under that section of code, if he does not bring the site into compliance by the third citation, they can do so at his expense. It seems the letter from the State coupled with the recent fire caused the owner to prioritize remediation at the site. Fortunately, now he is now working with the County as described in the recent press release discussed in the following paragraph.

Progress on the Muir Lodge attractive nuisance and fire danger situation  Thanks to County Code Compliance, Planning and Environmental Health Department staff as well as to the owner of Muir Lodge, Mr. Aung Oo, for working toward a compliance agreement.  Like many local residents, we hope the attractive nuisance that exists on the property and the associated fire risk will be fully mitigated. We are especially grateful that the property owner is willing to work with the County to abate the nuisances since the County's only other option is to file suit as an abatement action. That approach, which may sound attractive, is time consuming, costly in terms of the amount of staff time involved and uncertain in terms of outcome. Given that, we very much appreciate Mr. Oo’s willingness to work towards signing an agreement with the county. I also hope that, by working together with the community, we can define a third approach to address such nuisances in the near future. Click here to see the recent press release by the Mariposa County Planning Department on Muir Lodge. 

May 2022 update on the Muir Lodge situation I was pleased to learn from Charles Lammers that CV Environmental was now onsite at the Muir Lodge property, had removed the propane tank, and were removing the asbestos and lead from the various buildings. They have also placed a large, sealed container near the building that burned so that they can safely remove the potentially toxic residue from that fire. The CV crew noted that this fire was unusually hot in that it burned everything to the ground. Thankfully that fire happened before things got too dry as it would have been a real disaster if it happened now.

The obvious good news is that the property owner is following through with his agreement with the County and real progress is being made in cleaning up a site that is much more than a public nuisance, it is and has been a long-standing danger to public safety.