California has a housing shortage. That much I think most people agree with.

“By some estimates, California was 3.5-million housing units short of what we needed to accommodate a population of our size,” Hans Johnson with the non-partisan, nonprofit think tank Public Policy Institute of California, told CapRadio last year.

In 2022, Ed Mayer, executive director of Butte County’s Housing Authority, told the Chico Enterprise Record that the county needs between 6,000 and 15,000 units. That’s a massive range. One would think the county could narrow that number down a bit.

In large part the local shortage has to do with the 2018 Camp Fire destroying 12,600 units, many of which have not been rebuilt.

Building more housing would seem to be the answer. So, why then, am I against the Valley’s Edge project near Chico?

It’s the wrong project.

The developer’s website says, “There would be approximately 230 acres of land suitable for custom homes, 330 acres dedicated to single-family home builders, and 90 acres for residential cottages, patio homes, courtyard, and cluster housing. Within the Village Core, there would be room for approximately 10 acres of multi-family apartments as well.”

In all, 2,777 residential units are planned. It sounds like a lot of sprawl to me.

The land in total is 1,448 acres near Honey Run Road, Stilson Canyon Road and Skyway that would have to be annexed from Butte County to the city of Chico.

Bill Brouhard, 65, told the local paper he has been talking about this project since he was in his 40s.

It is unfathomable to me that in 2024 there is a plan on the books anywhere to build fake lakes. This project would do that. I live where there are man-made lakes. While I love walking by them, they come with a ton of environmental question marks.

I’m not convinced climate change impacts have been sufficiently studied to make such a massive development justifiable. I worry about fire, water and the overall environment.

The current construction I see on this side of town where I live and near where the project is proposed has not come with road improvements. Bruce Road is a nightmare. It was this way when I moved here three years ago and is only worse with more people using it from the apartments on Highway 32 and Meriam Park.

I also don’t trust the City Council members who have approved this project.

I will be voting no on Measures O and P, which are on the March 5 ballot. They have to do with a General Plan amendment for Valley’s Edge and the specific plan for the development.

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