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Silver Lake Landlord Builds Fence Across Public Street To Keep Out "Crime"

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To be entirely clear, we’re not sure how this is legal. An apartment building owner in Silver Lake has erected a black-metal fence and gate that bars access to a public road, according to LA Magazine.

Dillon Street, a small dead-end road that butts up against the 101 Freeway, has apparently long been a haven for impromptu homeless camps. This frustrates the neighbors, who, according to ABC7, reported the technically trespassing homeless folks to the Los Angeles Police Department fifteen times during 2015.

The fence and gate are broadly supported by apartment building tenants, as well as a by church that also sits on the cul-de-sac. LAPD itself weighed in on the issue, penning a pair of letters in support of building the fence across the street.

As LAPD wrote, “this action has greatly improved the area, keeping it clean and clear of debris and other problematic quality of life issues. Local residents report noticeable relief as well.”

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Yet something seems fundamentally wrong about this. While sure, residents are allowed to be concerned about potential crime and unsavoriness from encampments, Dillon Street is a road officially maintained by the city of Los Angeles. Homeless or not, the fact that the road and sidewalks are public property entitles anyone to be there.

The aforementioned (and apparently unpermitted) gate denies public access to a public space to basically everyone except those who have a remote or code to open it.

It’s important to note that the city is in the process of shuttering Dillon Street to the public. As reported by the Eastsider, a request filed in February, under the auspices gang prevention, will close the road for 18 months beginning later this year. Once that happens, the gate will technically be grandfathered into legality as will then close off a street that technically isn’t public space.

Until then, it exists with a sort of ‘hope nobody sues’ status, keeping out some types for the benefit of others.