Butte Environmental Council Shares Concerns About Chico Housing Element – Chico Enterprise-Record

CHICO – Since Chico released its housing element project, residents and local organizations have been asked to weigh in and provide feedback to City Council for it to assess and possibly adjust ahead of its 2 august.

The Butte Environmental Council, a local non-profit organization, released its comments on the draft plan and shared its concerns about some of the elements of the proposed document.

“The Butte Environmental Council appreciates the opportunity to engage with you regarding the 2022 update to the Chico Housing Element,” said a BEC memo to Chico City Councilors. “Thank you for taking the time to carefully review the attached document, which provides additional analysis and context to the draft housing element the city has developed for its 2022 update, as well only recommendations.

BEC breaks down its concerns into four areas.

The first concerns multifamily housing and whether or not it provides enough housing for low-income people.

“Chico’s typical zoning for multi-family housing is no longer appropriate for low-income housing as the city has grown and the cost of land and development has increased,” the BEC summary states.

Additionally, BEC’s comments criticize the lack of analysis of the maximum allowable density on areas allowing 14 to 22 units per acre.

“For sites permitting at least 30 dwelling units per acre, no analysis is given to assume that the sites will all be developed at this density,” the summary states. “This has led to a dramatic overestimation of adequate site inventory capacity.”

The locations planned for low-income housing, according to the BEC analysis, tend to all be on high-traffic roads with a lack of street connectivity and safe transportation infrastructure.

The BEC cites the previous cycle of the housing element and the actions of the council which could cause some difficulties in the production of low and moderate income housing.

In addition to criticism, the BEC provided what it believes to be policies that could potentially support fair housing as well as better land and transportation use.

The suggestions are as follows:

  • Expand the corridor’s site of opportunity to cover resource-rich areas with better or equal transit access.
  • Rezoning of residential lots within half a mile of public transit to, at most, medium density.
  • Increase both the minimum and maximum allowable density of residential or mixed-use areas.
  • Identify a minimum of 60% of city inventory sites for each residential zoning income group in the main distribution system.
  • Remove parking requirements for housing projects in the central city opportunity as well as limit parking requirements for the rest of Chico.

The summary and analysis provided by the BEC, like all other community suggestions and concerns, will be submitted to Chico City Council for consideration, said Chico Housing Director Marie Demers.

“At this time, all feedback received regarding the City’s housing component update is being reviewed,” Demers said. “Ultimately, all feedback received, along with recommendations from the Planning Commission and staff, will be considered at the August 2 City Council meeting.”