A Q&A: Is Valley’s Edge a housing development or a land use plan?

In everyday speech, it’s common to refer to Special Planning Areas such as Valley’s Edge as “developments” or “housing developments.” However, these terms are not correct. Valley’s Edge is what is referred to as a “land use plan” because it sets the design and maps the layout for future construction of buildings and housing on the property.

For example, Valley’s Edge also includes plans for community gardens, a lake, walking trails, soccer fields, and commercial stores, and restaurants. Most importantly, land use plans do not set housing prices. Land use plans set the stage for future development over decades to help solve the housing crisis and housing needs as the community grows. The price of those buildings is determined by market value at the time of building. Keep reading to learn a bit more about the differences:

Q: What is a land use plan?

A: It’s a plan to help guide future development in a given area and creates a framework for how the land will be developed down the road. It also determines placement and defines where open space, parks, roads, and housing areas will be placed on the land. Other items include laying out infrastructure such as storm drainage, public facilities, dry utilities, etc. It also sets design guidelines for architectural style and landscape architecture. Finally, it sets what is permitted use: residential, commercial, or special purpose. Valley’s Edge implements the city of Chico’s General Plan and brings it down to a more localized level. 

Q: How do you define a housing development?

A: A housing development is a specific area where houses will be built. In Valley’s Edge, multiple developments will be built like apartments, cottage style, single family, and high-density housing. These are actually all separate developments within the Valley’s Edge land use plan. The builders must follow the land use plan to shape what, how, and where to build, along with standards and requirements that must be met.  

Q: Why does Chico need a land use plan? 

A: Without land use plans, cities and communities would be disorganized. America has a long history of land planning, and it’s critical to continue this practice in order to accommodate future residents here in Chico. 

Q: Do land use plans such as Valley’s Edge set housing prices? 

A: No. Land use plans are usually regulated by a government entity (such as the City of Chico).  They set the framework for building years, if not decades, down the road.

Q: How are housing prices determined? 

A: Market conditions at the time of building determine pricing and will influence the cost of materials as well as the overall cost of each development. In short, builders don’t set market prices; the market demand does. For example, if someone sets a price of $600,000 for a house but similar houses down the street of similar nature are going for less, no one will buy it.  

Read more about housing and land use at Valley’s Edge here