Church to feed hungry near City Hall


Photo Credit: Bill Hall Chico City Council met Tuesday to discuss a church’s charity program, a sit-lie ordinance and repairs to a Chico Fire Department station.

A local church that has been seeking a permit to continue feeding the hungry in the downtown plaza has reached a compromise with the city.

Orchard Church’s sub-ministry, Church on the Street, has been hosting the feedings Sundays in the City Plaza for the last five years without a permit. In July, the city informed them that a conditional use permit would be needed to continue.

The Bidwell Park and Playground Commission approved the church’s permit request on Sept. 30 for a period of three months. But on Oct. 9, a downtown business owner filed an appeal challenging the commission’s approval, stating that the feedings contribute to the presence of transients in the downtown area.

The City Council was scheduled to consider the appeal at its Tuesday meeting. But the item was withdrawn after Pastor Jim Culp reached an agreement with city staff to hold the feedings in the municipal parking lot adjacent to City Hall, where no permit is required.

“We were very happy and thankful that Orchard Church and its representatives, specifically Pastor Culp, were instrumental in assisting us with working out an arrangement that was agreeable for the church and the city,” said City Manager Brian Nakamura .

While addressing the council, Culp pointed out that it was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, and that the idea that all people are created equal is important to the church’s ministry.

“Black and white, rich and poor, those with and without addresses,” he said. “We are a church that is committed to a nation and a city that pursues hope. Hope is second chances, fresh starts, restored lives.”

Orchard Church will hold its first feeding in the City Hall parking lot on Sunday.

The City Council also took action on the following items at Tuesday’s meeting:

A supplemental appropriation of $25,000 was approved to begin remediation efforts to fix a mold problem at Chico Fire Department Station 5 on Manzanita Avenue.

An appeal from the owner of an apartment complex disputing the approval of a new retail liquor store next door was denied. Star Liquors will be located at the site of what was previously Burger Hut on Nord Avenue.

The council voted unanimously to direct the Planning Commission to make changes to local alcohol regulations, adding a conditional use permit process and a deemed approved ordinance.

A sit-lie ordinance that prohibits sitting or lying on public sidewalks adjacent to commercial property had a final reading and adoption. The ordinance will be effective in 30 days.

Bill Hall can be reached at [email protected] or @thebillhall on Twitter