Proceed with caution

The authors are members of the Barber Neighborhood Association Steering Committee

We are a group of neighbors living in the area of the old Diamond Match property (Barber Yard) in southwest Chico who have been meeting regularly for more than a year. During that time, we have formed the Barber Neighborhood Association (BNA) to address our concerns about the impact and appropriateness of the proposed subdivision on the Diamond Match property. We are long-term residents of this neighborhood and are not associated with Jeff Greening, the out-of-town owner and developer of the property.

The Barber neighborhood officially came into existence in 1903. The Diamond Match Company purchased more than 130 acres of farm land south of Chico to build a match factory with a neighborhood adjacent to the factory to house its employees and their families. The neighborhood retains a distinctive, historic character.

We have requested the Chico City Council to authorize funding to hire consultants with expertise in livable street planning and traffic calming who can assist neighborhood residents in developing a street improvement and traffic plan. This plan would balance the safety and flow of travel for all users of the neighborhood streets: pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and public transit.

These consultants should have experience with the principles of Dan Burden’s Walkable Communities, Inc. (a nationally recognized nonprofit corporation expert in pedestrian-friendly developments). The goal of this plan would be to maintain the unique character of this historic neighborhood.

The City Council has specifically requested a public meeting with residents of the Barber Neighborhood and the Chico city planning staff. We are well aware that there are many issues concerning the Diamond Match property, such as toxics, traffic, density, etc. However, at this meeting, we would like to concentrate our efforts toward advocating for the creation of a neighborhood plan with the funding necessary to help shape it.

This is a significant opportunity for any resident in the designated area who has a concern about the impact that thousands of new residents and their vehicles would have on our neighborhood. This meeting is scheduled for June 8, 7-9 p.m., at the Chico City Council chambers. Come and participate in the request for a plan that would help to protect the quiet, charm and quality of historic southwest Chico.

If you have any questions, the Barber Neighborhood Association can be reached at 345-7034 (Bob) or 321-2719 (Sarah).

Editor’s note: Bob Speer, one of the authors of this commentary, is not the Bob Speer who is senior editor of the CN&R.