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One Fake Rail Car, One Yurt, a 70 Foot Tower, No Permits in Acton

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The Antelope Valley is a strange and wonderful place that we city folk, with our vigilant NIMBYs and relatively low number of meth labs, can’t really understand. Out there in the high desert, people like Alan Kimble Fahey don’t need permits to build fantastic compounds--on his 1.7 acres in Acton he’s personally built a maze of structures, with a trailer painted to look like a rail car, a 70 foot tower with wings and stained glass windows, a converted yurt with a satellite dish roof that serves as an aviary, a pond made from a watering trough, and an elevated barn with access via "winding, French-inspired curved metal stairway," as the LA Times reports. The structures are all connected with bridges and ramps, but Fahey gets around on a motorized cart. He calls it Phonehenge West, in homage to his 30 years as a phone service technician (he’s also self-published the book Hollywood Unlisted about that time).

But now building code enforcement has struck: the LA County enforcers are going after Phonehenge, demanding it be torn down, and the district attorney has charged Fahey with 14 criminal misdemeanor counts of maintenance of unpermitted properties and unlawful use of land. A trial starts today that could put Fahey away for up to seven years.

Fahey says he tried to do things by the book when he first started building Phonehenge in 1984, but the inspectors wanted tons of changes, lost his plans, and eventually stopped showing up. They reappeared in 2006. The Times likens Fahey to another builder who worked for decades on his pet project without ever getting permits: Simon Rodia, building his Watts Towers in the twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties.
· A man's castle, under code enforcement siege [LAT]