Kloke residents clash with city over sewer

August 17, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Today is moving day for Augustin Arredondo and his family.

He said he's moving to El Centro because the city of Calexico won't allow him and some of his neighbors living in the Kloke Colonia to hook up to the city's sewer lines.

Kloke Colonia is a collection of houses, trailers, old cars and vacant dwellings at the corner of Camacho Road and Estrada Boulevard.

Before the area was annexed into the city two years ago, the residents who lived in the colonia had to rely on septic tanks.


Now that those residents are Calexicans, some have asked the city for permits to hook up to the city's sewer lines.

They've been turned away.

Bob Williams, Calexico's chief building official, said, "We've been reluctant to issue permits because of the number of violations out there.

"We've got to pick up the code enforcement."

Among the violations he mentioned: "Anywhere from junk and debris to abandoned vehicles, improper uses of the zone and numerous living units on properties."

Arredondo took a break from unhooking his washing machine and looked around.

Ashes from burning trash floated by.

"They want to clean it up," he said.

Arredondo shrugged and took off his Oakland Raiders cap to wipe the sweat on his forehead.

He said he understands why the city would want to clean up the block. The only problem he has with the situation is the amount of time he was given to move.

Arredondo said his landlord told him he had a month to find a new house and move his stuff out of the colonia.

"A month is not much time," he said.

Some of his neighbors have already moved to Mexicali or other parts of Calexico or are getting ready to do so.

One of his neighbors is waiting to move to a house on the corner of the street but won't move in until the city gives the woman who owns the house a permit for a sewer hookup.

Part of the problem with the house, which Arredondo had called home for most of the past seven years, and the homes that surround his, is their "landlocked" location, according to Williams.

Williams said he can't give such dwellings permits to hook up to the city's sewer system because they violate city regulations.

"There is no way to run a sewer line to landlocked properties that don't have access to a street or easements. I foresee that as a problem. They have no frontage," Williams said.

He said the department has turned away Calexicans who have asked for permits.

One of those turned away is one of Arredondo's neighbors, according to Arredondo.

He pointed to a pit next to the new sidewalk the city recently installed.

The owner of the house next to the pit dug out the sewer line months ago to "show the city" but when city officials came to the house they would not give the owner a permit, according to Arredondo.

Some of those who have been denied permits have taken their cases to the City Council.

Councilman Frank Montoya has asked Williams to look into the situation and make sure residents aren't being unfairly treated.

Williams said, "We want them to hook up to the sewer system but at the same time we have to have them mitigate the code violations.

"Some of these things are really things that need to be taken care of in as timely a matter as possible."

The city building department has sent letters to the Kloke Colonia and homes at the north end of C.N. Perry Road to make those residents aware of the process and is working on a one-on-one basis with a lot of the property owners, Williams said.

"If their frontage is on the property we will allow them to hook up but with the caveat that they have to take care of their property," he added.

Arredondo said he has enjoyed the seven years he lived in the Kloke Colonia.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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