Fred Warchol, Atwater planning commissioner, walked into the Sun-Star to tell me about a curious case of "Do as I say and not as I do."
According to Warchol, the city requires private developers who wish to build homes in the city to construct a curb and a sidewalk with their developments.
A newly constructed home on the corner of Kim Street and Brownell Avenue in Atwater has neither, he said.
The house wasn't built by a private developer, but rather as part of a partnership between the city and the Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing.
I went to check out the house Wednesday to see it for myself.
A yellow wooden slat house sat on the corner of Brownell Street and Kim Avenue, just as Warchol said, sidewalkless.
Its front and side lawn stretches out and then abruptly end as it hits the street.
A buffer of dirt surrounds the house in the place where a sidewalk typically runs.
Other houses along Kim Street have sidewalks, but that ends when the sidewalk hits 2661 Brownell Ave.
Warchol said he felt that the city should abide by the same rules it imposes on other people.
I placed a few calls to the city of Atwater to find out why the city seems to be exempt from the same rules as private developers.
Scott McBride, economic development director for Atwater, said that before the house was constructed what stood in its place was a burned-out shell that had numerous code violations.
Earlier Sun-Star reports indicated that the home was acquired by the city as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Project, a program that rehabs and redevelops foreclosed or abandoned homes. The land and home were bought for around $24,000.
The city contracted with the Central Valley Coalition of Affordable Housing to build a new single-family home on the property.
Unfortunately, the grant the two agencies received didn't cover the implementation of a curb or sidewalk. "We're still looking for funding for that," McBride said. "The project has not been filed yet, and we are trying to find a list of resources for those items."
Stan Feathers, Atwater assistant city manager, said he's proud of the work the two agencies have done so far.
"We did a tremendous job removing blight and replacing it with this building," Feathers said. "We are proud of the effort to get a brand new house on the lot of a burned down house."
If the grant provided the funding, the city would have installed the sidewalk and curb, McBride said.
What's wrong: A newly constructed house in Atwater doesn't have a sidewalk or a curb. The city requires private developers to build a sidewalk or curb if they construct a home.
Who's responsible: The developers are responsible for the installation of a sidewalk or curb. In this case, it's the city of Atwater and the Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing that partnered to redevelop the home.
What's being done: The city hopes to find additional funding to finish the project and that would include installing a sidewalk and curb.
If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jamie Oppenheim, with your tips at (209) 385-2407 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.