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Chico City Council explores easing parking regulations downtown to encourage housing

Car parked in downtown Chico on Oct. 19, 2023.
Erik Adams
Car parked in downtown Chico on Oct. 19, 2023.

Chico’s city council approved a motion this week that may create a more livable downtown by removing parking restrictions.

The council directed city staff to draft a proposal to explore eliminating or modifying parking requirements for downtown developments.

Councilmember Tom van Overbeek introduced the idea to encourage more housing development in the city’s core.

Van Overbeek called the requirement that there be one parking space per residential unit an “impediment” to the creation of housing.

Bryce Goldstein, who is on the city’s Climate Action Commission and was formerly on the Planning Commission, spoke at the meeting in support of removing the parking space regulations.

“Most cities with a thriving downtown have people living there,” Goldstein said. “We had people living downtown in the past. We don’t anymore.”

Goldstein said the potential for housing downtown is there, but the parking issue holds back opportunities to move forward.

“Removing parking minimums would make it easier to build housing in places downtown where people can walk, they can bike, take transit and support local businesses,” Goldstein said.

The council also approved a 10-year plan addressing roadway rehabilitation as part of Measure H.

Additionally, the controversial Valley’s Edge referendum vote was discussed. The council approved a resolution formally calling for a special election to be held during the March 2024 primaries.

Erik began his role as NSPR's Butte County government reporter in September of 2023 as part of UC Berkeley's California Local News Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from Cal State LA earlier that year.