Yes, in my backyard

The lack of affordable housing calls for locals to adopt a YIMBY attitude

The author is a Chico resident.

Picking the place you will live is an exciting experience.

Being an avid cyclist, I knew of an apartment complex bordered by Little Chico Creek and the bicycle path that runs from Highway 99 to Bruce Road. The apartment I chose also has a clear view—through undeveloped fields—of the foothills.

As I sit at my desk in my den working on the computer or organizing my stamp collection, I can look out to a sea of green blending to a blue sky with the mountains serving as background.

Some months back, when I received notification of a hearing by the Chico Planning Commission to rezone that empty 4.9-acre field from secondary open space to high-density residential, my blood pressure rose. As I read the proposed changes, I knew I had to attend the commission’s meeting to voice my opinion.

And voice my opinion I did. I explained to the commissioners everything I’ve enjoyed about my idyllic, almost rural surroundings, and how I had picked this apartment intentionally but that—following my conscience—I had to request that they go ahead and authorize the rezone.

You see, the proposed high-density residential project is a three-story, 101-unit complex for low/extremely low-income people. We all know that we have a serious affordable housing shortage in our community. My personal considerations had to be trumped by the absolute need for affordable, low-income housing.

So, I said, “Yes, in my backyard”—making me a YIMBY. I told members of the Chico City Council the same thing when they authorized the Planning Commission’s recommendations.

I also said that to the commission when its members were considering the heartless appeal of the Chico Housing Action Team’s Simplicity Village. Sadly, the city now faces a lawsuit over that aforementioned plan to house homeless senior citizens. The world needs more YIMBYs when it comes to affordable housing development.

Please listen to your conscience, fellow Chicoans.