Act in good faith on scrap yard

Chico’s City Council must do what it takes to move Chico Scrap Metal

The author and his family have been residents of the Chapman neighborhood since 1990.

Previous dialogue generated by the presence of the Chico Scrap Metal yard on East 20th Street has tended toward the emotional: “Pity the poor school children breathing polluted air” and “Pity the poor business owner harassed by both neighbors and the city.”

Much of this rhetoric is pure exaggeration, which overwhelms the real concerns of a beleaguered Chapman neighborhood. Among these concerns: Chico Scrap Metal (CSM) should never have been relocated to East 20th Street adjacent to Chapman Elementary School; the ambiance of East 20th Street has changed dramatically over the years, especially with the presence of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; and with the creation of the Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan, the neighbors had an expectation of CSM being relocated and its site being redeveloped.

Unfortunately, when the neighborhood plan was created, there was a much more level playing field. Now, CSM has its own representative sitting on the Chico City Council and the conservative, pro-business sector has a majority on the council.

It is time to accept hard realities if all parties continue to remain at an impasse. One is that the conservatives have been on the short end of many council decisions in recent years. Now it is time for payback. And the irony of this is that the Chapman residents who are getting tossed aside cannot even vote for City Council members (we still reside in the county).

Another reality is that much of the scrap that comes in the front door of CSM comes from our own neighborhood. We have an ongoing problem with all things metal being stolen from our yards and outbuildings.

There is one win-win solution. The city of Chico must offer whatever is fair and necessary to relocate Chico Scrap Metal. And the Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan must be honored and considered binding. The plan was created in good faith. CSM agreed to relocate within a preset time frame. The current City Council must act now in good faith, no matter how painful it may be from an ideological perspective.