Thursday, August 27, 2009

7th Annual Coastal Cleanup at Lodi Lake- Sept. 19

Where does a cigarette butt end up that has been flicked out onto a City of Lodi street or alongside the Mokelumne River at Lodi Lake Park? Hmmm, maybe a waterway.

You probably have seen the clever posters for this event, but the reason for the event is clear: stormwater runoff can pollute our beaches, rivers and other waterways. Come join the local effort at Lodi Lake Park to do a little housekeeping before the winter rains return.

Lodi's California's Coastal Cleanup is gearing up for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Lodi Lake Park. This event is fun for the family, friends, scout groups, fellow workers or just going it alone. You'll make new friends!

People interested should show up at the lake by about 8:45 am, wearing work clothes and covered shoes, with your signed liability release form in hand. The forms are available in English and Spanish from this City of Lodi press release.

Be ready to divide into teams which then clean an area of the lake. Teams then assemble back at the lake front and sort and count garbage. Yup! It's gross, but very interesting. We'll have a contest for the most interesting item found for the day and submit the entry to the State organizers for the statewide competition.

Lodi has won TWICE in the seven years we have participated. The first year we cleaned the lake, a student found an unscratched lottery ticket; the second winner was last year -- a Gucchi purse doubling as a crawdad hideout.

If you'd like to help lead a team, just work, or sponsor the event, contact me. We'd like to serve coffee and breakfast goodies and, of course, water. T-shirts will be given to all workers who complete the day, until supplies run out. So come early and join the best community service event in Lodi. Teachers may want to check out the Cailfornia Coastal Commission's website for great teaching ideas connected with the cleanup.

Please contact me if you'd like to help. My contact information is available on the City press release.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Who, What and Where’s of Encroachment Permits

An encroachment permit authorizes the applicant to perform work within the City’s right of way, construct approved facilities, or conduct specified activities. The encroachment permit is not a property right like an easement, nor does it confer a property right. Therefore, it does not transfer with the sale of real personal property.

Individuals, companies, contractors, corporations, utilities and other agencies proposing to conduct any activity within, under, or over the city’s right of way are required to obtain an encroachment permit.

Examples of work requiring a construction encroachment permit are excavations, sign, post, and fence installations, equipment/structures placed upon the street and/or sidewalk, vegetation planting/trimming, driveway or sidewalk installation/replacement, and utility work.

Examples of events requiring non-construction encroachment permits are neighborhood block events, walkathons/marathons, marching band review, and material placed upon the street and/or sidewalk.

The Downtown Encroachment Permit Application is for Special Events or non-construction work in the downtown area. The downtown area encompasses Church, School, and Sacramento Streets from Lodi Avenue to Locust Street, Walnut, Oak, Pine, Elm and Locust (south side) Streets from Church Street to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Encroachment permits are available online at under the Public Works department tab. Once the application has been filled out drop it off at the Public Works Department, 221 W. Pine Street, Lodi, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except the last Friday of the month due to Furloughs). Submitting an application does not constitute encroachment permit approval. The permit application fee to initiate the application process is $38 and is non-refundable. Please contact the Public Works Department at (209) 333-6706 for fee and insurance details.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congressman McNerney views Lodi sites

Congressman Jerry McNerney toured the site of a possible solar power installation, and then visited the Lodi Lake Park Nature Area for a up-close threat of the eroding riverbank near Pigs Lake on Tuesday.

McNerney hiked from the Nature Area parking lot to the far end of the park, viewing the failing Mokelumne River embankment. If the remaining 16 feet fails, most of the Nature Area would be inundated by up to 5 feet of water. In the opinion of an engineering firm, the bank may last five years, but certainly won't survive another decade without repair. That assessment is a year old.

The City of Lodi has applied to the State of California for nearly $2 million of Proposition 84 bond money. The State, however, has notified grant applicants such as Lodi that it is indefinitely postponing the sale of Prop 84 bonds needed to come up with the statewide $40 million pool that would go to river parkway or urban stream projects.

Earlier this year, the Lodi City Council named the Pigs Lake embankment repair its No. 1 priority among projects submitted to a county group that visited Washington, D.C., on a lobbying trip.

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Is A Buiding Permit Required And Why

Do-it-yourselfers often wonder if they need a permit to make an improvement to their home. While a building permit is required for almost anything you do to your home, here are the most frequent exceptions:
1)Painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similiar items;
2) One story detached structures (tool sheds, playhouses and similiar uses) less than 8 feet tall and less than 120 square feet;
3) Fences not more than 6 feet tall;
4) Retaining walls not more than 4 feet tall;
5) Sidewalks, driveways, and uncovered decks not more than 30 inches above grade level;
6) Above-ground, prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 2 feet deep and less than 5,000 gallons;
7) Shade cloth structures;
8) Swings and playground equipment; and
9) Attached window awnings extending not more than 54 inches from the house.

Permits ensure that the work being done meets the current codes and building standards and ensure your safety and the safety of your neighbors. State law requires that you have an approved permit prior to the work being started.

There are many benefits to getting a permit before you do any projects. When you apply for the permit, your project will be reviewed to make sure your project meets the current standards. As an example, you want to build a 90-square-foot patio cover and attach it the back side of your house. The plans examiner will make sure your rafters are of sufficient size and spacing for depth of the cover, that the attachment to the house is adequate, that you have adequately sized footings and check all other important details of the patio cover to make sure it is safe.

The consequences of starting a project without a permit can be costly. There is a penalty fee charged if you are "caught" doing work without a permit. If the work done doesn't meet the current codes, you will have to bring the project up to code or tear it down.

There are other liabilities associated with improvements made without a permit. All permits issued for your home are a matter of public record. If a home is for sale, a potential buyer may search the City records to see if permits were issued for any work done. If any work done without a permit is discovered, you may be required get a permit and to bring the work up to the current code.

And finally, your insurance company, in case of damage, may not cover work done without a permit, and may not cover damage to your home if the work done without a permit was the cause of the damage.

Permits protect everyone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grape Bowl work under way (updated Thursday)

Work began Monday on a $289,039 construction project at the Grape Bowl that will provide more access for disabled spectators, remove obsolete facilities and the trees that blocked viewing of the scoreboard at the west end.

So far, the trees at the Bowl's west end were removed, as well as the softball diamond backstops and dugouts. In the near future, the bare west embankment will be replanted with groundcover.

The concession stand structures on the north and south ends will be removed by the end of the week, and the project calls for the construction of concrete platform decks on the north and south ends to accommodate wheelchairs.

Removing the softball fields will allow three soccer games to be played simulateously on a north/south axis. It also will allow for an artificial surface to be installed.

The demolition work is being paid with San Joaquin County discretionary funds. The artificial turf will be purchased with development impact fees collected over the years from homebuilders specifically for an artificial turf field. The money is restricted for projects providing additional park use and can not be used for any other purpose.

Thursday update: Here's are two new pictures showing the gap where the north concession stand was removed Thursday morning. The south end will be removed by the end of Friday. It will cost roughly $1.5 million to build replacement concession stands and restrooms that meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. In the meantime, temporary restrooms will be in place for Grape Bowl functions and catering trucks will provide food and drinks for spectators.