In addition, the elegant pool, once lined with Grecian statues, has been filled in with dirt. Hocking complimented Hill on repainting the house, saying he did a “dynamite” job. “He did take out a lot of vegetation, including lots of eucalyptus trees and heliotrope flowers that were along the house,” he said. “I understand why the people in Piru are upset. They revered the house and he’s made a lot of changes that have had a negative effect.” Jimmy Sanchez, who owned the town liquor store for many years before buying the local ice cream and coffee shop, shook his head in disappointment. “I understand it’s his property, but it’s the community’s landmark,” he said. “To me, I was born and raised here and looked up to it all these years. He’s making changes without abiding by the rules.” Sanchez said the regulars who sip coffee at his counter are upset, but feel somewhat helpless to do anything. “I’d say 95 percent of the people who come in are upset,” he said. “When Mrs. Newhall was there, you could go up and knock on the door, but now he’s put up a chain-link fence with a gate.” Johni Beltran pours coffee at the Heritage Valley Inn, a historic hotel around the corner from Park Street and says both visitors and locals are dismayed. “It’s just awful what’s happened to the mansion,” she said. “That’s all the talk at the post office, nobody likes it.” “Before, even though it was secluded, you could take a scenic drive around and see it,” Fernando Vancini, the inn’s cook, added. “Now, we have to tell guests they can’t go.” Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 firstname.lastname@example.org PIRU – The face of the historic Piru Mansion – once the opulent home of the late Scott and Ruth Newhall and a familiar party spot for Santa Clarita movers and shakers – is changing and the neighbors aren’t entirely pleased. For more than a century, the mansion has been a beacon over the tiny agricultural town, a landmark the townsfolk called their own. The original mansion was built in 1887 by town founder David Cook, a publisher who planned to establish a second Garden of Eden in the bucolic community, planting trees mentioned in the Bible around the Queen Anne-style home. The mansion burned to the ground in 1981, the fire sparked by a painter’s torch. The Newhalls meticulously rebuilt the home and offered it to the community to hold fundraisers for various charities. After the fire, a wrought-iron phoenix was added to the roof to signify the mansion’s rise from the ashes. The Newhalls also made the house part of the Piru community, Ruth inviting children to swim in the pool and welcoming the curious attracted by the ornate ironwork and architecture for a peek inside. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card But now the welcome mat is gone and the once-verdant palm-lined drive is barren; the date, pomegranate, fig and orange trees gone and two abandoned 1940s-era houses propped up on blocks where the lawn used to be. The mansion was sold in 2003 to David Newhall Hill, a distant cousin to Scott Newhall, who is said to be a collector of antiques though he opted not to buy the ones collected by the Newhalls and offered for sale with the house. The Ventura County Cultural Heritage Board has noticed the changes, citing Hill for a variety of unauthorized revisions to the house and grounds, which are listed as Ventura County Historic Landmark No. 4. Hill did not attend a recent hearing to address the violations and refused to be interviewed for this story. “We did receive several complaints from people in Piru,” said Kim Hocking, the staff liaison to the Cultural Heritage Board. “There were about 20 allegations, which we boiled down to a few things that concerned us. Mr. Hill has moved the outhouse from the rear of the building to the front, which is hardly in keeping with its historic status. He has also removed all the driveway lights, which were ornate iron, and he has taken down the phoenix, allegedly to repair them.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!