Butte County Democratic Party
Position Statement on the Valley’s Edge Development Project
Ignoring overwhelming citizen opposition, the Chico City Council recently approved a housing and commercial development known as “Valley’s Edge” (VE). This is a development of unprecedented size in the history of Chico and Butte County.
The Butte County Democratic Party, based on the stated values and positions of our party platform, opposes Valley’s Edge for the following reasons:
1. VALLEY’S EDGE fails to address our community’s affordable housing shortage.
Chico and Butte County need more housing for people of moderate, low, and very low incomes. VE is primarily a development for high-income people and would exacerbate existing housing inequality.
2. VALLEY’S EDGE is environmentally unsound.
For both a livable community and a habitable planet, Californians need housing that is accessible by public transit and active transportation (walking and bicycling). The Democratic Party strongly supports smart growth strategies for development. VE would be an overwhelmingly auto-centric development where public transit and active transportation could never play a meaningful role in meeting its transportation needs.
3. VALLEY’S EDGE is fiscally unsustainable.
It is increasingly clear that the tax income from auto-centric, suburban sprawl development does not pay for the long-term maintenance of the extensive roads and other infrastructure required by that development. Anyone who travels the deteriorating roads of our community experiences the results of poor road maintenance, a problem that will be exacerbated by increased traffic from VE. There are numerous opportunities for more compact housing within the existing urban footprint of Chico that would not require extensive new road networks.
4. VALLEY’S EDGE would increase the danger of wildfires in Chico.
The property on which VE would be built has burned repeatedly in recent decades. Controlled burns by firefighters on the project site helped prevent the 2018 Camp Fire from extending into Chico. Building in fire-prone areas over-extends firefighting resources and increases risk to adjacent communities.
For all the above reasons, the Butte County Democratic Party opposes the Valley’s Edge development and joins our friends at Butte Environmental Council, Altacal Audubon, California Native Plant Society, Smart Growth Chico, and the Sierra Club in supporting the Save Our Hometown referendum seeking to overturn the Council’s approval of Valley’s Edge.