Put Politics Aside and Get Real

Dear Editor,

With roughly 15,000 homes destroyed in the Camp Fire and thousands of people in severe need of housing, Chico builders ramped up.  They are slogging through shortages of infrastructure and  labor, and excesses of fees,  lawsuits, regulations and other impediments to building.

Then Chico’s Mayor added an even more maddening insult. He vilified builders at the State of the City meeting and in interviews, saying “developers” are “holding back” and there are 5,300 units “ready to be built.”

That’s untrue.  He is misstating the facts.  There are 750 units actively being built and 525 units starting within a year.  700 homes were stopped by a local lawsuit.  Over 3,300 units are in the permitting maze that will take years.  Even an approved project can be the subject of frivolous lawsuits meant to delay the project and drive up costs.

That’s what the mayor calls “holding back” 5,300 units?

The truth came out at a city meeting a week later, as reported in Friday’s E-R. Community Development Deputy Director Brendan Vieg said 5,300 units aren’t “shovel ready.” They will take up to five years before they’re built because they lack “entitlements” like permits and approvals.

The council can lead the charge to build more housing. It can work with builders and staff on solutions. Let’s stop the game of “Demonize the Developer” and start working on the complex, real issues of home building at an affordable cost.

Kate Leyden, Executive Director

Chico Builders Association