FEMA Plans Expanded Site

Mar 26, 2019

FEMA and CalOES officials address the Chico City Council.
Credit Marc Albert


FEMA has again increased the number of families it plans to house at a pop-up trailer park in south Chico.


First it was forty eight, then sixty four, now FEMA says they’re planning to house 82 families on the site, within the Hegan Lane Business Park. 


Chico City Manager Mark Orme said he first heard the revised plan just hours before last night’s council meeting where FEMA and CalOES representatives unveiled it.  


Officially a group site of manufactured housing units, the 13-acre parcel is one of several planned as interim housing for survivors of the Camp Fire.  


Neighbors were on the whole supportive. One chided FEMA over delays, another demanded more housing. Consistently though, nearby residents said traffic, already bad at some intersections before the blaze, has become terrible.  


Daniel Horvath, FEMA’s lead on the Camp Fire housing task force told the council and public there are reasons. 


“This is a community that these folks are going to live in for up to 18 months, potentially longer. It has to be livable for those folks. We have to provide for some green space." Horvath explained. "We don’t want to put people in a place where they’re in a worse situation. We don’t want that on the news, ‘look what FEMA has built.’ It’s not an internment camp.”  


Officials said they plan to add advanced sensors to a traffic light at a problematic intersection, but that other solutions, a bridge, road widening or a roundabout were too time consuming to properly study and build.  


The site, at Hegan Lane and Aztec Drive has been leased for a year. Two optional six month extensions are possible under the terms.