Friday Update on July 14 2017
A couple items:
· The July 18 City Council Agenda includes the Olive Grove Subdivision and Affordable Housing Plan, recommendation on the formation of an Economic Development Advisory Committee, Creekside Estates Development Agreement, an update from the Police Department, Site Preparation for the Futsal Court, and contracts for design of a bar screen and monitoring services for the wastewater treatment facility.
· Attached is the June Activity Report (pdf) for the Winters Police Department
· Construction has commenced on the foundation for the Hotel Winters. This is really good news!
· The City’s Design Review Committee (DRC) met with representatives of“Stone’s Throw” (former Winters Highlands) for the preliminary review of the design elements for Phase I of the project. Generally a good meeting! The design review before the City Council is scheduled for July 25.
· The Phase III Putah Creek Project has been hit by another delay from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the issuance of the permit to commence the project. This will further delay the project which now looks like it will happen in 2018.
· Get ready for the Yolo Conservancy Habitat Conservation Plan on the August 1 City Council Agenda. A really good article in the Winters Express this week on the details, but in summary it addresses multiple species and mitigation for all of Yolo County. The environmental impact report on it is massive, so I am working on a short version to send out prior to the meeting.
Finally, a very real issue in town are people doing home improvement work without building permits. This affects the City both from a financial standpoint but mostly from a safety standpoint.
Many of the “do it yourself” television shows which show folks buying and flipping houses, doing massive renovations, tearing out walls or just running down to the local hardware store and changing things out are now creating issues which should give us all caution. In the past month, we now have numerous properties which have been “caught” blatantly doing work without the benefit of plans and permits. Some of the work is extensive and structural in nature.
One of the toughest jobs in city government is being a building inspector. Much like a law enforcement officer, the building inspector is responsible for enforcing State regulations which are meant to protect us. Getting caught doing something is never pleasant and when it comes to a house, it can be downright dangerous. The “inspector” can be pretty unpopular, but I would argue that they are one of the most important positions in the City.
With a permit for work, both the homeowner and future owner of a home will know a couple basic things; including that there were plans for the project, the person doing the work is qualified, the materials used were proper, the improvement was inspected and meets the building code and a level of quality assurance that when it was finished it was safe. Without a permit, there is no guarantee on any of this, especially the safe part.
Recently, we have a combination of issues happening which are not right. Specifically, people simply lying about what is occurring at the home to hide work either done or under construction. People also lie about who did the work. An example is someone claimed that they “did all of the electrical work” in a home but when asked a very basic electrical question could not answer it (they obviously had “someone else” do the work). In another case, a property owner “just remembered” that they also moved the entire staircase over when demolishing some walls.
Imagine buying one of those houses from the televisions shows where they flip the house in couple of days with a quickie remodel. What quality of work do you think you are getting? What about the quality of work for someone doing electrical improvements without the benefit of a licensed contractor? Buying a home requires disclosure of non-permitted work. How many of these house flippers doing work without permits are then going to immediately disclose all of the improvements recently done to prospective buyers? When the house burns down from a fire caused by faulty electrical and someone loses all of their belongings or someone is injured or dies, who should be responsible?
If someone is willing to not get a permit to save a couple dollars or feels it is an inconvenience, where else did they shortcut the project? What about the electrical panel size and who calculated whether the existing panel was sufficient? If no permit, do you really think the panel was calculated?
If you see someone doing work without a permit, please call and report it to the City’s Building Division. All calls are confidential.
Some things are just silly!
Have a nice weekend.