Campground for unhoused needs proper permits, city says – Chico Enterprise-Record


CHICO — A proposed campground aimed to provide legal camping and parking in Chico for people experiencing homelessness is in the works but faces barriers — and concerned citizens are asking for the campground to be put on a Chico City Council agenda.

The campground, proposed by the nonprofit North State Shelter Team, is aimed to provide 82 campsites located near Cohasset and Eaton Roads.

After a back and forth between the city since July, the North State Shelter Team has been directed by the city to apply for a rezoning of the property and a General Plan amendment to continue with their plans.

On Tuesday, the Chico City Manager’s Office released a statement to address citizens who have been calling for action after City Manager Mark Sorensen said he received emails and read letters to the editor in this newspaper about citizens asking about the proposal.

Sorensen said the property owner of the campground needs to obtain proper permits from other government agencies that address environmental concerns and concerns with proximity to the Chico Municipal Airport.

“For the folks that seem to think the ball is in the city’s court, there is no project application that the city can act on,” Sorensen said.

North State Shelter Team President Charles Withuhn said the nonprofit is working on a fourth proposal to the city after addressing issues brought up by the Planning Commission.

The nonprofit’s current proposal asks for an administrative use permit to continue with the plan. Withuhn said that they could obtain permits from the city through California Code 8698 that allows for exemptions from zoning requirements on private land that the city leased or managed.

Sorensen said the city’s legal team will have to see if the proposal will work on private property if it can be leased by the city.

Sorensen said the City Council has not had conversations about sanctioned campgrounds since he joined city staff in July.

If the City Council wished to put a sanctioned campground on the agenda — apart from the North State Shelter Team’s proposed managed campgrounds — Sorensen said the council could do so but may face trouble finding property that citizens wouldn’t object to.

Chico opened its only sanctioned campground July 2021 at the Chico Municipal Airport which closed in less than three months.


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