A majority of residents in two Lodi neighborhoods have shot down the idea of adding sidewalks, curbs and gutters, preferring the "country feel" that they have been able to maintain while still located in the city.
The two one-block long residential streets, Peach and Willow, both connect to Tokay Street just east of Mills Avenue. The streets are narrow with no paved shoulder, although some homeowners have installed their own parking areas in front of their homes.
But recently, when the city asked the homeowners if they were interested in paying for infrastructure, the answer was a resounding no.
"We don't need or want sidewalks, curbs or gutters," said Tom Gooding, who lives on Willow Street. "We did not complain when we were annexed into the city. I sincerely hope we still have a say in the country environment that we all enjoy."
The Lodi City Council discussed potential improvements at a meeting last Tuesday after receiving a request for sidewalks and storm drains from a resident on one of the streets, who did not attend the meeting.
The situation with Peach and Willow streets not having sidewalks, curbs and gutters is unique in the city. Parts of Garfield Street and Railroad Avenue were the only two places staff could name that might have similar situations.
Lodi annexed Peach and Willow streets in 1972 without the infrastructure that is common on other Lodi streets. And for the residents who attended the meeting, they hope it will always stay that way. "If it's not broke, let's not fix it. Let's leave it like it is," Robert Wisner who lives on a corner of one of the streets.
The residents on Willow and Peach streets would have to pay for the improvements — which could range in cost for each homeowner from $10,203 to $49,524. The wide difference in cost is based on the square footage of the home's frontage and whether the residents wanted to keep the street two-way or choose a cheaper option that would change the streets into a one-way.
The homeowners would pay for the improvements by either writing a check or forming an assessment district to tax themselves. A majority of the residents on the two streets have owned their home for decades.
But with homeowners from nine different properties out of 19 parcels either attending the meeting or sending a letter in opposition, the city does not plan to continue discussing or move forward with any improvements, City Manager Rad Bartlam said.
"We will do nothing further on this until 30 years from now when it comes up again," Bartlam said.
Resident Jerry Manzel has lived in a house on the street for at least 25 years, and said that the streets have maintained a country feel, even though they are surrounded by other residential streets.
"Originally, I bought it because I liked the country appeal. There was an advantage for me to live there," he said. "I just paid for my house, my truck is paid for, I'm paid for. I would prefer to leave it as it is because it suits my needs."