Wildwood project OK’d; City Council bucks Dolan; green leadership

Cactus Ave. project OK’d
For Tony Symmes, the second time was a charm. His Wildwood Estates subdivision, which had been approved twice by the Chico Planning Commission but appealed to the City Council both times, finally got a thumbs-up Tuesday (Feb. 6). The council voted, 6-1, with Scott Gruendl dissenting, to approve the latest version, 171 homes on 36 acres. Neighbors along Cactus Avenue who bought property when it was zoned for one-acre ranchettes decried the loss of their rural neighborhood, but the council believed Symmes had built in good transitions from existing residences to make it compatible. The biggest issue was whether to have a road exiting the project onto Cactus Avenue; a compromise was reached that included a linear parkway that could be turned into a roadway should it become needed in the future.

Dolan rebuffed on Chapman lot
Despite hearing an impassioned plea from Butte County Supervisor Jane Dolan, who has worked long and hard for the betterment of the Chapmantown neighborhood, the City Council voted Tuesday to use redevelopment funds to purchase a small lot at the corner of Wisconsin and Boucher streets, adjacent to Little Chico Creek. The Community Housing Improvement Program wants to build self-help housing there for low-income people. Dolan and several neighbors said the property was inappropriate, too expensive, vulnerable to flooding and couldn’t hold as many houses as planned (up to seven). “I’ve given your staff a list of seven other available lots in Chapmantown that would be better than this one,” Dolan stated. The council nevertheless approved the purchase, 5-2, with Councilman Scott Gruendl arguing that it was simply a lot purchase and the nature of the development remained to be seen. Dissenting were Councilmen Steve Bertagna and Larry Wahl, who agreed with Dolan that the project “has all kinds of problems.”

Environmental leader
Butte County’s chief administrative officer, Paul McIntosh (pictured), will take on some additional, green-tinted duties starting in March. He’s among a dozen county leaders in the country and a dozen more corporate members to be appointed to the Green Government Advisory Board, which will work to provide education to local governments and businesses on how to become more sustainable.

The National Association of Counties created the Green Government Initiative to first help local governments become more environmentally friendly—reduce greenhouse gases, cut back pollution, save energy—and will later move on to schools, homes and businesses.

“Your invitation serves to acknowledge the environmental stewardship Butte County has displayed throughout challenging conditions and is greatly appreciated,” McIntosh said in a statement. Butte County has the fifth largest solar-power system in the country.