Canyon Sparks a ‘Family Feud’

Regarding your story “A Family Feud” (June 6), I want to say that the feud does not involve only the next-door neighbors. Many thousands of other Orange County residents share the disgust that the Carters feel for the Dapelos’ self-serving act in destroying the small canyon that was their yard.

Gary Dapelo describes the level, sod-covered area that replaced it as his “field of dreams,” and that sounds right. The dreams of a person would cover a lovely little ecosystem with tons of dirt should be flat, barren, artificial and devoid of detail.

Your article concludes with an “I wash my hands” statement by Dana Point official Ed Knight that attempts to sidestep making Dapelo restore the area to its original condition. Knight said, “I don’t know how much is really to be gained by tearing it all out now.” Well, Ed, here’s a few gain possibilities to mull over:

* The canyon can recover if it is rebuilt. It will never be exactly the same, but it will take on similar features in a few years. It can be replanted with native growth, and nature will do the rest.


* Restoring it will send a message to the Dapelos and others of their ilk that county zoning regulations do mean something to all and that being affluent and quick with a bulldozer does not give one license to become a scofflaw.

* Eighteen thousand square feet of water-sucking, pesticide-ridden, fertilizer-soaked lawn can be removed from the environment, along with the load of pollution it would dump steadily into the Pacific Ocean a few hundred yards away.

* Simple justice would be served to the benefit of the entire community.

I am not a professional tree-hugger, but the wrongness of this situation cries out for remedy. We have precious little of nature left in the urban sprawl that Orange County is coming to be, and we cannot as a community allow individuals to trash what remains with impunity. It will all be parking lot and lawn soon enough.