Documenter: Angelica Hernandez
The City of Clovis Planning Commission meeting was called to order on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2020 at 6pm. All listed officials were present during roll call. Commissioners Amy Hatcher, Mike Cunnigham, and Paul Hinkle attended in-person, while Commissioners Alma Antuna and Brandon Bedsted attended virtually via Webex. Everyone present in the council chambers wore a mask and were following social distancing guidelines.
For the first agenda item the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the previous meeting which took place on November 19, 2020.
During the Secretary Comments portion of the meeting Commissioner Secretary acknowledged various changes to personnel in the planning and development services department. Changes included the interim director Rene Mathis becoming the permanent director of planning and development services on Dec. 1st, the retirement of Orlando Ramirez as Deputy City Planner and the promotion of George Gonzalez to take his place. He praised George as a “workhorse” of the department and offered his congratulations.
Commissioner Hinkle commented offering his congratulations to Rene Mathis. He also asked if anyone present could comment or address AB 2345 that was signed into law last week and whether it would affect the city of clovis or the work of the planning commission. The Commissioner secretary said he would get back to him with an answer.
Mike Cunningham also congratulated the new positions. There was no business from the floor or public comments.
Senior Planner Ricky Caperton presented the second agenda item Res. V2020-003. Applicant John A. Bonadelle from Bonadelle Homes Inc. was requesting that the minimum lot width requirement be reduced from 50 feet to 35 feet for a residential development planned for north of Shaw Avenue, between Leonard and Highland Avenues. According to Caperton, due to the odd shape of Dog Creek the developer is asking for a reduction in the minimum standard to better utilize the “awkwardly shaped” space . He assured the commission that all homes would still follow all other City of Clovis building requirements. Caperton pointed to a successful development south of Ashlan and east of Leonard built in 2017 that had been approved at 35’ width by the planning commission. There were no questions or discussion from the commissioners. The applicant, John Bonadelle was present to comment. He thanked the Planning Commission for putting the item on the agenda so quickly. Commissioner Hinkley asked the applicant if the main reason for changing the lot line was to straighten out the lots from the existing map. Bonadelle confirmed that this would help them fit the lots more efficiently and straighten them out while still adhering to all of the Clovis building standards. There was no public comment. A motion was made by Commissioner Cunnigham to approve Variance V2020-003 to supersede Variance V2017-03 previously approved on May 25, 2017. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hinkley and passed by a unanimous vote.
Associate Planner Lily Cha presented the third agenda item TM6340, a request to approve a tentative tract map for a 41-lot single-family residential development in the Loma Vista neighborhood. The property is situated on 9.25 acres of rural and residential land located at the southeast corner of Ashlan and Thompson Avenues. This falls just outside the Clovis City limits in the County of Fresno. Cha explained that an associated annexation request (RO299 – Ashlan Thompson SE Reorganization) for the incorporation of approximately 40 acres was approved by Clovis City Council and the Planning commission but is still under consideration by Fresno County and the Local Agency Formation Commission. This would change 40 acres of land on property located at the southeast corner of Ashlan and Thompson Avenues. Cha mentioned that the tract map meets the goals and policies of the general plan. She also claimed the property was in compliance with the environmental impact analysis included in the agenda packet. However, Cha did not address the letter included on pages 77-78 in the agenda packet, detailing a review from the Fresno Irrigation District that expressed concerns that the “proposed development may negatively impact local groundwater supplies” and could possibly “increase the area’s existing groundwater overdraft problem”. The commissioners did not comment on this either. Commissioner Hinkley asked if this would be brought back for approval once a map was finalized. Cha said it would not, given it’s specific designation however it already is required to abide by the building requirements set forth by the planning commission and they would not be able to adjust those. The applicant Manny Penn of Penncal Properties, LLC, was present to comment. He thanked the commission and Lily for her excellent presentation and said that he was eager to get this project off the ground and annexed in the next couple of months. There were no questions for the applicant from the commissioners. A public comment in favor of the item was made by resident Bernard Armstrong, who sold the property surrounding his home to Penn for use in this development. His home is one of two homes that fall within the project borders which will be annexed into the City of Clovis if approved. He spoke about being part of the Fresno County Fire Department for 17 years and how he is looking forward to being part of the City of Clovis. “I don’t figure I’ll be losing anything by being in the city of clovis, there is an excellent fire department and excellent police department,” Armstrong said, “It is my impression that you do a good job dealing with the peaceful coexistence between urban and rural people. So I’m looking forward to that”. No other public comments were received. A motion was made by Commissioner Bedsted to approve TM6340. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Alma, and passed by a unanimous vote.
Associate Planner Lily Cha presented the fourth agenda item Res. 2020-004, a request to amend the P-C-C Zone District to establish the Loma Vista Marketplace P-C-C Zone District Standards for approximately 23 acres of property located at the southwest corner of Shaw and Leonard Avenues. Cha described the Loma Vista Marketplace P-C-C District as the social, retail, service and entertainment hub of the Loma Vista Community Masterplan. Cha shared design plans including 17 buildings, restaurants with outdoor dining, three proposed drive thru areas, a proposed daycare and a strong focus on pedestrian walkways and urban trails. The architecture style called “mission revival” would incorporate neutral colors, tile roof, and arched openings to fit in with the existing design features of the surrounding Loma Vista neighborhoods. Cha said the findings for the rezone were consistent with the goals of the master plan and would not be detrimental to public health and properties are consistent with proposed zoning and anticipated land uses. Commissioner Hinkley asked for clarification on the location of the marketplace in relation to Shaw Ave. The applicant, Phillip Newfelt, was present to comment. He thanked the commission and Lily for engaging the community during this long journey. He said they look forward to realizing the vision of the Loma Vista Community center as a whole and especially developing the Loma District Marketplace as a place for retail services, community gatherings and as the heart of the Loma Vista Community Center. Public Comment in favor of the plan included Teresa Sebasto. Sebasto said she was on the original southwest urban planning group, pre-Loma vista and was very excited to see the project finally moving forward. She said she was very happy to see the plan factoring in people walking and biking but shared her critical opinion of the design overall. “I appreciated that the way you’ve done the planning so the outside doesn’t look like a strip mall.” Sebasto said, “I just was hoping in the elevations as they stand today, that we would see a few more details. It just looks a little, I don’t mean to offend you, but a little ordinary. It’s a little bit dated if we’re going for mission revival. I think the standard for mission revival is Santa Barbara-like and I just wasn’t getting that with this. Like I said that’s my personal opinion.” She also reminded the commission that there will still be people farming in that area and for them to mitigate any construction interference they might have to work through. Commissioner Hatcher commented that the plan looks great and addressed Sabato’s design concern by saying that there are more detailed photos available for this project. Commissioner Bredsted added that he also thinks the plan looks great. Commissioner Atuna also said she was excited about the development and asked if there were any prospective tenants. The applicant, Phillip Newfelt responded that he could not name specific tenants in the interest of competition but said a business that sells “coffee-like” drinks, a hair salon, pizza place, fast food and restaurants are some of the secured tenants at this point. Newfelt said they are looking for more anchor tenants for the larger retail spaces with the help of the City of Clovis. Commissioner Cunningham also expressed his excitement and made the motion to approve Res.2020-004. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hinkle and passed by a unanimous vote.
During the Old Business section of the agenda the city attorney addressed Commissioner Hinkley’s question from the start of the meeting about the state assembly bill AB2345. He said it is a land use bill that will affect the city and the commission and it is something that the planning department staff is aware of. Commissioner Hinkley appeared to express mild disagreement with AB2345 saying, “I hope I read things that aren’t there”. Commissioner Cunningham said the changes were expected. “This is not unheard of. We knew it was coming down,” Cunningham said, “Not that we necessarily agree with it but we knew it was coming”. The cIty attorney agreed that was a fair statement. “The emergency ordinance to address the 2019 state housing laws was approved in Dec. of 2019,” he said, “As long as the state legislature has as their goal addressing the housing crisis, it’s probably fair to anticipate additional bills being proposed some of which may eventually be signed into law.”
There was no new business brought forth during that section of the agenda and the meeting was adjourned by Commissioner Chair Hatch at 6:50pm.