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Chico City Council: Homeless plan, park rules and affordable housing progress on agenda

Tuesday evening, the Chico City Council will meet to discuss homeless plans, park rules, and affordable housing progress.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 8:51 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Tuesday, the Chico City Council will meet to discuss homeless plans, park rules, and affordable housing progress. The city council will vote whether to make park rules, ordinances.

Chico City Manager, Mark Orme, said there many regulations and rules for city parks. These rules include things like alcoholic beverages not being allowed in parks, park hours, rules for dogs, and no overnight camping.

Orme shared why the push to go from rules to ordinances.

“In years past, the city used to just do these rules and regulations without codifying them, and by codifying them, it makes them more stable, it makes them more sure and allows the city to enforce them much easier,” said Orme. 

“I think they should," said Chico resident, Jamie Sedgwich. "I think it is a good idea, just to get people out of the parks you know, and clean them up a little bit. They look pretty bad.”

Sedgwich said he hopes the council goes through with this so he can feel safe when taking his 4-year-old daughter to the park.

If the council passes this ordinance, it must come back for a second reading. If they pass it then, it would go into effect 30 days later.

The council will also discuss an effort to bring more affordable housing to the area.

Councilmembers are considering requiring some future housing developments to include housing for people with lower incomes.

Councilman Randall Stone said the new ordinance if passed, would make those housing developments designate about 5 to 10 percent of their units to low-income renters.

Several people in Chico say they think this is a good idea.

“I think it is absolutely necessary," shared Chico resident, Allison Rykiel. "We need greater housing density in this area. If you build housing up around it, inclusionary housing, mixed housing, then I feel like it is a more thriving inclusive city.”

“I think it is a good idea," said Sedgwich. "Housing is always a tough situation, especially for lower-income families. You got to have something for everyone.”

Stone says the state would subsidize the rent difference between the standard rental rate and the low-income one.

If the city passes the ordinance, the housing director would help get tax credits for developers.

Another topic on the agenda for Tuesday is the ongoing homelessness issue.

City Manager Mark Orme said that the council will start by re-visiting their quality of life plan.

Orme said that this plan was developed to create a framework that allows city staff to focus on strategies to improve the quality of life for the city of Chico.

The quality of life plan is a three-year plan. It allows the city to set aside additional money to consider implementing things like increasing short-term emergency beds, increasing target team hours, and planning for an environmental review.

Orme shared why this quality of life plan is important and some people shared what they think the council should also consider.

“You are starting to see this framework built out to allow for the city council to say you know what, we want this as a part of the initiative to help with this entire situation,” said Orme. 

“The city council needs to look at these wrap around services for the homeless population," said Rykiel. "First of all, they need to get these people in some shelter so that they are not out and about causing any issues and second of all, how do we help them get well from there.”

Orme said that the city is currently working with their partners, their private sector, their non-profits, and with their other partners at the federal and the state and local county government levels to come up with a comprehensive plan and receive funding to implement this plan.

The Chico City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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