Neighbors have a point

Their concerns about the large commercial building next door are valid—the city screwed up

This week, the CN&R met with a Chicoan whose backyard has been transformed by the addition of a 24-foot-tall building 10 feet from his fence. We also spoke with a city official who signed off on that building, claiming it didn’t need architectural review because it was a “minor project” (see “The great wall,” by Meredith J. Cooper, page 10).

Anyone who visits Greenfield Drive, off The Esplanade in north Chico, likely would agree the project—a secondary building on the Ray Morgan Co. property—is anything but minor. The mere fact that it abuts a residential neighborhood should have been enough to warrant a full review and, therefore, neighbor input.

We agree with the city that anyone who buys a house next door to commercial property should understand that property will someday be built up. But it’s not unreasonable to expect that when that day comes the architecture will fit in with the neighborhood.

The city blew it on this one and the homeowners in that section of the Amber Grove neighborhood are suffering because of it. Their property value is unquestionably decreased with the construction of that building, and their quality of life—at least for those living in the three houses that back up to it—is altered as well. Imagine sitting in your hot tub, wondering if Ray Morgan employees in the conference room 15 feet away can see you over your fence. Or waking up in the morning, opening the curtains and looking at a concrete wall.

We doubt the city will acknowledge its snafu, but we also wouldn’t be surprised if the homeowners take their case to court and win.