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West Hills Retiree Fined For Cross On Front Lawn; 'Public Safety' Cited

WEST HILLS (CBS) — A retired San Fernando Valley woman could face thousands of dollars in zoning fines for erecting a 24-foot-high cross on her property.

Los Angeles Building and Safety inspectors visited the home of Laly Dobener on Thursday after receiving complaints from neighbors and determined she had violated zoning laws by erecting an unpermitted structure, the Daily News reported.

"She has two options," Building and Safety spokesman Dave Lara told the newspaper. "Option A is that she takes it down and Option B is that she tries to get a permit."

"This is a public safety issue," he added.

The 72-year-old retired baker faces an immediate fine of $336 and has 30 days to either dismantle the cross or obtain a permit. Failure to do so could result in up to some $3,000 in fines, the Daily News reported.

Dobener told the newspaper she intends to file the paperwork to comply with city codes so she can keep the symbol of her Catholic faith.

"I don't want to take this cross down," she said. "To me it's an important symbol of my faith. It's not hurting anyone."

Her neighbors, however, say the cross has attracted numerous passers-by to the quiet cul-de-sac and is driving down property values, the Daily News reported.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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