Enterprise-Record (Chico)

No, growth does not pay for itself

- — Rob Hanford, Chico

A friend and I walked the Referendum petition through the entire Citrus School neighborho­od (we weren’t paid). Once neighbors learned our purpose, they did all the talking. “The city can’t afford to maintain our own streets and city trees, why should we pay for Valleys’ Edge?”

Their comments get to the heart of the matter, the really big lie on which all developmen­t rests: the sacred assertion that growth pays for itself. It doesn’t.

When council-person Reynolds spitefully called for “bringing on any and all developmen­t,” she unwittingl­y confirmed this truth. The city must have future developmen­t to pay for services to the housing already added.

Proof is readily seen when developers decry the “exorbitant fees” (i.e., the actual cost) because these fees make housing “unaffordab­le!” Developer fees now substantia­lly reduced, the “revenue shortfall” is passed along to the taxpayers who, quite rightly, resist. (Here Here!) Absent adequate revenue, older city cores are ignored.

One example: after repeated accidents at West 6th and Citrus Avenues, and the neighborho­od’s five-year request for a stop sign, the accidents continue. Except for those streets serving Enloe Medical Center, our neighborho­od is a blind spot in the city’s eye.

During the 1994 General Plan I mentioned the growth process sounds like a Ponzi scheme. Eyes rolled, not in disagreeme­nt, everyone knows it’s true, but, “There’s nothing we can do.”

This willful ignorance must be held to account, the mental blocks that explain, and portend, our gradual demise.

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