Gate Debate: Property Owner Ordered to Open Gate

City officials are attempting to resolve a neighborhood feud after a Lincoln Heights property owner blocked access with a steel gate.

Residents won a temporary injunction Friday to reopen the gate on Forest Park Drive. The gate was installed by property owner Gardner Compton, who said neighbors harassed him because of a construction project.

"It's really two-fold," Compton said. "It's to get the city's attention to make this a proper road. The trust is willing to dedicate the property to the city for a proper road."

Residents who live beyond the barrier must park outside the gate and hike home or use a county access road. They said they thought Forest Park Drive was a public road.

"Literally, I came home with my daughters at 8 p.m.... and there was a gate in the road," said resident Ilse Ackerman.

A civil court hearing was conducted Friday, ending with an order to reopen the gate. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that Compton violated residents' rights when he did not allow them to drive on the road that leads to their houses.

"This is a very fearsome situation to be pushed into," said resident Meeno Peluce. "To know that we live on a tinderbox hill, and that we're cut off from these emergency services while these Santa Anas blow."

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