Why are we subsidizing for-profit developers by deferring developer fees?

11 Jul

I got a comment on an old blog recently. It was a blog about the road work on Hwy 32 east of the freeway, and how the developers aren’t paying for work they necessitated with all those new houses and apartments out there.

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2013/08/22/hwy-32-widening-will-caltrans-carry-out-their-threat-to-sue-us-because-we-didnt-collect-developer-fees/

There are no pedestrian or bicycle improvements out there for all those “live units” they’ve built, and they’re continuing to build without adding any. They’re putting people out in the sticks who don’t have cars, without providing safety improvements required for pedestrians and bikes.

From Py:  What about the new ‘low income’ 141 apt. Complex at the corner of 20th & Bruce road’? State law states that a car must give a bicyclist at least 3feet of ‘leeway'(or words to that effect)! What a joke!!

I use my bike to get around town, but I drive when I have to leave the city center, because the car drivers get more agitated the farther you get from Downtown. The cyclist will encounter car drivers who actually question the cyclist’s right to use roads. If there’s not a marked bike path, they act as though cyclists are not allowed. 

But, as a car driver, I get nervous around bike riders who seem to think now that they have a bike, it’s all about bikes! I find a lot of people who have driven all their lives, as soon as they get on a bike, they ride like they drove – remember the old Disney cartoon, Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler? Well, they should have made a bike version, the intelligent pedestrian fears bikes as much as cars. The answer is wide roads with adequate space for proper bike lanes and sidewalks, with adequate signage and signals. Why don’t the developments on the outskirts of town have the same amenities as central neighborhoods? Because the city didn’t require it of the developers who made millions out there. 

The city needs to require more of developers.  In that old blog, I posted a conversation I had with Mayor Mark Sorensen in which he told me none of the developer fees had been collected for the Hwy 32 work. Since that conversation, city council has actually deferred developer fees again, saying they want to encourage construction. More construction without proper infrastructure?  As we also discussed in that old blog, Cal Trans threatened to sue the city because they were permitting too much development without setting aside money for the necessitated road improvements.

Just as I feared from this new council, they are talking about developing at least part of Bidwell Ranch.  And this is what we can expect – if we want the bike trails and the other amenities, we will have to pay for them out of the tax pot. Meanwhile the existing streets around town will get worse and worse as we subsidize for-profit developers. 

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4 Responses to “Why are we subsidizing for-profit developers by deferring developer fees?”

  1. Rose July 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    Soon there will no longer be a need for bike trails or bike lanes in the city of Chico. The thefts of bikes in broad daylight has reached a critical point. Ghost riding is a common sight (a dude riding a stolen bike and rolling another one next to him). The stolen bikes aren’t just the expensive ones – kids bikes, Walmart models, etc. Check out “Chico Stolen Bikes” for a real eye opener. I predict bicycle ridership will continue to plummet and all the $$ spent on bike lanes will have been for naught. So why bother with more bike lanes?

    • Juanita Sumner July 12, 2015 at 5:46 am #

      Thanks for keeping this in the news Rose. When I was a kid, you’d get pulled over by the first cop that went by if you were riding two bikes like that, it was a given. “This is my friend’s bike, I’m taking it to his house” didn’t cut it – Mr. Cop would take you home and talk to your parents, at the very least.

      One day a couple of weeks ago we were walking out in front of our house and a dirty creepy looking guy rode by on a woman’s pink cruiser, carrying a black plastic garbage bag like a pig in a poke. He stopped to talk to a man who was raking his front yard. As we approached he looked at us nervously, but included us in the conversation – he was asking the man with the rake how to get to Bidwell Park, several blocks south. My husband and I both suspected he’d stolen the bike, we knew he was headed to Bidwell Park to camp out. We just stared at him as the other man gave him very confused directions. We could tell the homeowner was uncomfortable with the guy, but didn’t want to be point blank rude.

      I’ve often thought, how do you report stuff like this to Chico PD? You know, my husband and I are unkempt, unshaven, and very unfashionable – we get mistaken for “bums.” Do we want the neighbors calling the cops every time we ramble by on our crappy old bikes? And do the cops want reports like that? How do you report, “I saw a strange man in my neighborhood, I just don’t like his looks…”

      I would like to see a cop car cruising my neighborhood once in awhile, but you only get them if you call in a crime, and then they make their report and whisk away. We use the park regularly, we never see them there either. They need to be more of a presence, and they need to be keeping their eyes open. They need to familiarize themselves with various neighborhoods and know when something is askew.

      Right now we have what former public works director Ruben Martinez called “failure maintenance” – you wait until something is broken, or a crime has been committed, and then you go about “fixing” it. Most times there’s no real fix, the crime can’t be undone, the broken thing can’t be fixed but needs to be completely replaced. I think our whole city is in failure, and the policy is, just wait until it’s completely dysfunctional then replace it with something more than we really need. Some people call that “progress.”

      • publius July 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

        Sorry, but u are wrong about the police showing up to investigate and make a report. Reports are completed online. I haven’t seen an officer show up to a scene in years

      • Juanita Sumner July 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

        Believe me, I was shocked when a couple of months ago a cop actually came to our neighbor’s house within 30 minutes of a crime. A visitor’s car was broken into in front of her house, the driver’s unattended purse was stolen. It happened in the late afternoon, in broad daylight. The car was locked so the guy broke out the side window. Another neighbor spotted the guy milling around the car, and then walking away carrying something that looked like a purse, but didn’t see him break into the car nor could she see the broken window from her house. Both neighbors called it in. They got a cop right away, within a half hour of the actual crime, they thought. The woman had only been inside the house for about 10 minutes, she thought. The other neighbor said she’d seen the guy within the last 15 minutes, and she’s the Gladys Kravitz type. The cop took the report but my husband and I saw him leave the neighborhood pretty licketty split – I assume he didn’t think it would be worth looking for the perp after the time lapse. We’re only about a block from Bidwell Park.

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