Duplex a go, council says

Mansion Park residents charged it wasn’t appropriate for neighborhood

A large group of residents of the East Mansion Park neighborhood got little satisfaction Tuesday (Aug. 19), when they asked the Chico City Council to stop construction of a duplex in their neighborhood.

Developer Tony Symmes has torn down a single-family home on the corner of East Frances Willard and Oleander, across from Chico Junior and the county Health Department offices, and sought to put up a two-story duplex there, with a large unit on the ground floor and a smaller one upstairs.

The new structure was an “upgrade” to the neighborhood, Symmes said, showing a photo of the demolished house, which dated from the 1940s and wasn’t much to look at. Neighbors were mostly concerned about replacing it with rentals, arguing that had a negative impact on an area that had 80 percent owner occupancy.

However, the city has yet to pass a historic-preservation ordinance, and current code allows duplexes on corner lots. Ultimately the council voted to approve Symmes’ use permit but send the project back to the Architectural Review Board for fine-tuning.