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Phonehenge West felled

Posted: August 6, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Noah Fahey, son of “Phonehenge West” builder Alan “Kim” Fahey, throws a stone at the landmark wooden tower on the Acton property as it is demolished on Friday. See A5 for story and more photos.

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The soaring wooden tower that served as a beacon of hope for many area residents fighting Los Angeles County’s code-enforcement crackdown came tumbling down Friday.

The demolition of the structure came after another fruitless sentencing hearing for the man who built it.

Alan “Kim” Fahey, 59, constructed the tower and 11 other labyrinthine, tree-house-like structures in Acton by hand over more than 20 years.

But he built them without building permits; Los Angeles County officials say the structures didn’t meet state building and fire codes and pose a safety hazard.

Fahey was convicted of 12 misdemeanor counts of building code violations in May.

During his scheduling hearing Friday, Judge Daviann Mitchell complimented Fahey for progress he’s made since a June 10 court order to vacate the offending buildings, turn off their power and demolish them.

Fahey has vacated the offending structures. And Friday, thanks to a fast-tracked demolition permit, Fahey’s soaring tower made of telephone poles was torn down.

“This is not about me,” Fahey said.

He said hundreds of residents of Acton and other rural communities in northern Los Angeles County have been confronted by the controversial Nuisance Abatement Team, a coalition of several county agencies that inspect and enforce codes.

The Antelope Valley Truckers Organization was formed to combat the county’s active enforcement arm. The group originally formed because many truckers have faced violations for parking their big rigs on their properties.

A colorful, gregarious character with the spectacular handmade structure dubbed “Phonehenge West,” Fahey has become the motley crew’s de facto spokesman. A Facebook page titled “Save Phonehenge West” has almost 30,000 supporters.

Fahey is one of a handful of rural property owners whose violations have led to a court trial.

“He’s kind of an everyman,” his wife, Pat Fahey, said of his media appeal. She looked down the hall of the Michael D. Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse in Lancaster as her husband spoke to ABC Channel 7.

“He thinks on his feet, and he’s good at extemporaneously speaking,” Pat Fahey said.

Fahey wasn’t on his Acton property Friday as demolition crews worked to dismantle his creation.

Watching his life’s work come tumbling down would be too difficult for him, his sons said.

Fahey’s sentencing was rescheduled to Sept. 23. He and his family say the county is delaying his sentencing until the court order to tear down the structures is obeyed. Without a sentencing, Fahey can’t appeal to save the tower, so they’re stuck with one option: tearing it down.

Fahey expects to be fined and ordered to carry out about 100 hours of community service, which Judge Mitchell said could be served in Kern County, where Fahey now lives.


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