VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused of illegally housing homeless people on his property in Virginia Beach faced a judge on Monday.
The City of Virginia Beach has decided that after eight years, the people need to move from Ron Deangelis’ plot of land. But Deangelis wants them to stay.
Deangelis, who was representing himself, lost in Virginia Beach General District Court.
He wants the six homeless people now on his property to stay because he claims the city has done nothing to help them.
Last week, we met Clifton James who is living through homelessness but has found a place to live on Deangelis’ property.
“And the city wants to come and kick me out of here. Where do I go?” he asked.
Clifton James and five others have lived on Deangelis’ property for about eight years. You can’t see the site from the road, and the city has failed to produce anyone who has complained. 10 On Your Side could only find one person who has “a curiosity” about what is behind his fence.
In court, the judge told Deangelis he needs to remove the homeless people because he is in violation of zoning rules.
“I am quite disappointed that the city did not find a place for them, and they want me to literally throw them off… It’s not right… This has worked … no one’s been complaining.”
The judge also acknowledged Deangelis’ kindness in putting up a utility pole to provide them electricity, and gave him until July 6 to move the homeless off the property.
“That’s nice, but at least give them a chance to find a place, and possibly the city should find them a place in the meantime,” Deangelis said.
Deangelis told the judge the homeless people are no longer on the Business 2 (B-2) zoning side of his property which he was cited for, and everyone has been moved to Residential 10 (R-10) even though some unoccupied structures remain on the B-2 side.
He told the judge everything will be moved to R-10.
Will that work?
“I will do that, but I don’t know if that will appease their appetite. The city attorney seemed to think that wasn’t good enough,” Deangelis told us.
We asked Associate City Attorney Gregory Surber if Deangelis gets everyone on the R-10 section of land, is that enough to allow the homeless people to stay?
“He is going to have to clear that with zoning. Just clear that with the city prior to,” he said.
Both the city and judge agreed Deangelis should have handled the situation differently.
The city could also be opposed to this because they could think Deangelis is encouraging the homeless people to stay by providing them electricity, for which the homeless reimburse Deangelis.
“There is a right way to go about doing what he wants to do, and he has to clear it with the city.”
So Deangelis has until July 6 to get the homeless off the property. He is hoping the city comes out and instead of giving a summons to appear in court, finds the homeless a place to stay.