Guest Comment: Oppose Valley’s Edge

Valley’s Edge, the enormous (1,448 acres) sprawl project east of Bruce Road, would forever change the character of Chico. With over 2,700 housing units and a projected population of over 5,000 people, this proposed development rivals the size of Durham.

“But we need housing!” we hear pro-growth politicians say. Of course we do—affordable housing. Valley’s Edge is planned as a homeowners association (HOA) development for people coming from cities to escape sky-high real estate prices. Valley’s Edge loudly touts its trails, parks and open spaces, but those will be restricted to people who can afford luxury houses and HOA fees.

Instead, Chico needs to give attention to those who live here; to create community improvements, bikeable, walkable neighborhoods and improved roads with more trees. We need small infill projects near goods and services. We need redevelopment projects that turn vacant lots, empty buildings and run-down properties into beautiful, livable housing at an affordable price.

What we don’t need:

• Increased traffic and congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that would come with Valley’s Edge.

• The destruction of a beautiful habitat of wetlands, riparian plants and animals, and mature oak trees for an urban sprawl project.

• Greater fire risk by developing land that was the buffer for the Camp Fire. We need this fire-prone land to continue as open space.

• Threats to our precious water from 5,000-plus residents who will draw on the increasingly stressed Lower Tuscan Aquifer.

Join Smart Growth Advocates—along with the Sierra Club, Butte Environmental Council, Altacal Audubon Society and Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society—to oppose Valley’s Edge. Attend the Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. Write to the Planning Commission: nicole.acain@Chicoca.gov. Learn more at smartgrowthchico.org.

Susan Tchudi is cohost of “Ecotopia” (KZFR, 90.1FM), a Butte Environmental Council advisory committee member and
co-founder of Smart Growth Advocates.

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