Half a loaf

City Council’s decision on Wildwood project misses a key point

When the Chico City Council approved the 171-unit, 36-acre Wildwood Estates subdivision Feb. 4, it tried to be all things to all people and in the process ended up making a phony compromise that violates a key city planning policy.

That policy requires that streets in new subdivisions be connected with surrounding neighborhoods in multiple ways in order to disperse traffic and thereby reduce congestion.

The Planning Commission, adhering to policy, twice had approved the project with a single connection to Cactus Avenue and two to the planned extension of Eaton Road, which will be part of the eventual arterial looping around the northeast part of town. Cactus residents understandably wanted to preserve the rural character of their neighborhood, and twice they urged the council not to allow the connection to their street.

Caving in to this emotional appeal, the council voted 6-1, with Scott Gruendl dissenting, to include a linear parkway in the development that could be the site of a future road exiting on Cactus, should it become necessary. But it’s foolish to think that residents of the subdivision will ever be willing to give up their park. The end result is that all traffic will be channeled onto Eaton Road, creating yet another enclosed neighborhood bordering a busy thoroughfare.

There are times when the greater good trumps the wishes of a small group of people. This was one of them, and the council ignored it.