Chico Community Fridge gets city permit
Sierra Sandoval prepares to go to city hall to seek a permit for the Chico Community Fridge on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Chico, California. (Evan Tuchinsky/Enterprise-Record)
The Chico Community Fridge sits off an alley in the 1400 block of Hemlock Street in Chico, California, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (Evan Tuchinsky/Enterprise-Record)
Emily Einspar, right, shows support for the Chico Community Fridge at the City Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Chico, California. (Evan Tuchinsky/Enterprise-Record)
CHICO — The Chico Community Fridge can continue to serve food-insecure Chicoans after receiving a use permit from the city.
The mutual aid project, located behind an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Hemlock Avenue, must follow conditions of approval set by the Community Development Department that include securing two other permits. The fridge must pull a building permit from the city for an electrical connection that's up to code and a Limited Service Charitable Feeding Permit from Butte County's Environmental Health department.
Fridge organizer Sierra Sandoval applied for the administrative use permit Feb. 15. Supporters asked the Chico City Council to waive the application fee; that request denied, Sandoval covered the $1,679 with donations. She's determining the cost of the new permits.
"I’m super excited to see this happening and to be a part of such an amazing community," Sandoval said Thursday evening. "We will continue to grow together and help each other. Without our community, none of this would be possible."
The permit — approved Monday, issued Wednesday and effective May 25 — lists 10 conditions of approval. Besides the additional permitting, those include hours of operation (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and limiting its offerings to food. The fridge had been open round the clock with a shelved area for clothing, toiletries and other such necessities.
Organizers must monitor, stock and clean the fridge "several times a day" to assure "the health, safety and general welfare" of beneficiaries and neighbors. The city is requiring two parking spaces dedicated to patrons and volunteers, plus a release from liability.
Sandoval plans to speak with officials Tuesday about the building and health permits.
"We will be doing donations to cover the cost again," she said. "We will have shirts, hats, cups and keychains, and some car fresheners, available soon to try to help raise the money."
For more information on the fridge, visit the Chico Community Fridge group page on Facebook.
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