David vs. Goliath, San Diego-Style

A homeowner who installed an un-permitted steel-reinforced masonry wall squared off against a county work crew intent on dismantling the barrier.

Workers showed up Monday morning at about 8 a.m. at a home in the 9700 block of Del Dios Highway in North County.

Workers told the California Highway Patrol that the homeowner, Iraj Bassir, had parked several vehicles between the fence and the roadway, preventing them from tearing the wall down. The CHP went out to the site, but the homeowner allegedly refused to accommodate requests to move the vehicles. Law enforcement then threatened to tow aways the vehicles, but the homeowner ended up moving them, according to the county.

The workers quickly went to work with a large John Deere excavator and tore down the wall, which was about 6-feet tall and reinforced with steel Rebar.  "Anybody in the right mind can look at this wall, including the contractors tearing it down, everybody knows this is the stupidest thing anyone has ever done", said Bassir who called it the worst day of his life.

Bassir applied for permits after he built the fence, according to the county, but his request was not granted. "He applied for a permit after the fact and through all the legal process, numerous court appearances, he lost them all.  The wall has to come down" said Michael Drake with the San Diego County Department of Public Works.  The wall was built on county land in the public right of way and county officials believe it is a hazard to drivers.

Bassir said he spent $10,000 to build the fence. The county is expected to send him a bill for $7,000 to remove it.

Bassir bought the house in 2005. When he bought it, there was a wooden fence, which does not require a county permit, in the same location. Bassir said it was termite-infested and that he was concerned that a driver who lost control of his car could easily go through the fence and down a hillside into his home.  "I was told that the wall was my property, I just replaced the wood fence with a wall " said Bassir.

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