RIPON (CBS13) – There’s a digging dilemma that could uproot a Ripon neighborhood. PG&E is asking people to move their pools, sheds and trees so workers can get to a gas line.
“So this part of the pool is actually over the gas line,” said Ken Meadows, a Ripon resident.
If PG&E gets its way, 19 yards will get a makeover in one Ripon neighborhood.
“They’re taking the trees, the sheds the BBQs. They don’t care. They’re taking everything,” said Meadows.
But it’s a makeover that Meadows says many don’t want.
“If they want it moved, they just need to do it right and do what we ask,” said Meadows.
In Meadows’ case, he needs to move his entire pool. He says when he moved into his home nearly 20 years ago, he knew his pool sat on top of a gas line and PG&E knew it as well. He claims he’s got a waiver, signed by PG&E, promising the previous homeowner the pool can stay.
“They gave them a waiver saying that you could use this pool as long as you don’t change it,” said Meadows.
Then this past summer, PG&E came knocking on Meadows’ door and his neighbors’. Meadows says crews told him the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed several people changed everything.
“We have to have access to properly maintain our gas transmission lines,” said Nicole Liebelt, a PG&E spokesperson.
A company spokesperson says they want to come to a mutual agreement with its customers. But when asked about the waivers, CBS13 received this response from Liebelt: “I do not have that information. What I can tell you is this is a safety matter.”
“We’ve lost a lot of sleep,” said Meadows.
He admits PG&E has offered to give him nearly $70,000 to move his pool. But he says before anyone thinks that’s enough, he’s done the calculations.
“Our property taxes would go up because the pool needs permits. If you take cash you have to pay federal, state, local taxes — plus you’re in another tax bracket. There’s no way,” he said.
We asked PG&E if the company and customers can’t come to an agreement, what would happen. Liebelt says they’ll continue to work with customers.
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Editor’s Note (12/21): A previous version of this story stated the neighborhood was in Manteca.