Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

The Scene

The Clovis Planning Commission meeting took place on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The Planning Commission consists of five Clovis residents appointed by the Mayor Drew Bessinger and approved by the City Council. They meet monthly to make decisions and recommendations on city planning issues and review proposals for compliance with the General Plan, in order to make recommendations to the City Council. 

Commission Members:

Paul Hinkle, Chair (also real estate agent with Kellner Properties)

Mike Cunningham, Chair Pro Tem

Alma Antuna

Brandon Bedsted (also Director of IT & Data Services, Community Medical Centers)

Amy Hatcher

In the minutes from the commission’s Jan. 28 meeting, a reorganization of the planning commission was noted. The commission nominated and voted to elect Commissioner Hinkle as the new Chair (replacing Hatcher). Hatcher was nominated for Chair Pro Tem by Commissioner Hinkle, but the motion was withdrawn following discussion of the rotation method for positions. Cunningham was then nominated for Chair Pro Tem by Commissioner Hinkle. 

The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19. Antuna was present via Webex and all other commissioners were in council chambers and wore masks while seated. 

The meeting opened quickly with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Cunningham. It then was opened for comments by the commissioners or secretary. City Planner Dave Merchen introduced a new planning department staff member, Kelsey George. He said she is originally from Palmdale and has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. “Not only is she an experienced land use planner, but she’s properly educated as well,” Merchen said. “We’re very happy to have her here and she’s already proving to be valuable to us.” 

Merchen also provided the commissioners with information on an upcoming League of California Cities Planning Commissioners Academy. He commented it was all virtual this year through Zoom and not necessarily encouraging it since it was all online. Since Antuna was not in chambers, she requested the info be e-mailed to her.

Cunningham commented on the Commissioners Academy and said that he had attended two previously. He said they were good for networking, but since that would be hard to do via Zoom, he would not attend.

Hinkle then opened the meeting for public comment and no comments were made online or in council chambers. 


  • Unanimously approved a conditional use permit allowing for a five-building, 60-unit apartment complex to increase from 2.5 stories to 3 stories, no greater than 35 feet. The district was previously zoned for the standard building height of 2.5 stories, no greater than 35 feet. The property is located at 1703 DeWolf Avenue, northwest of Shaw Avenue. 

    • Presented by Lily Cha, associate planner, who noted that the number of units per acre does not exceed the general plan. 

    • Cunningham asked if the site was included in the city’s inventory of low-income housing. Merchen said that it is creditable toward low-income housing requirements. Cunningham replied that they have taken some plots out of the low-income housing inventory, so this would help make up for those. 

    • Jay Virk was in council chambers representing the applicant, Bottom Line Group LLC. “Pretty much our goal was to stay within the height and try to maximize the units per acre and the only way that was feasible to do that was through our three-story prototype that we just displayed,” he said.

    • Cunningham asked Virk about the Fresno Irrigation District’s requirements, he replied that they were working with them. Cunningham also asked about the mature Eucalyptus trees on the property. Kirk replied that they would try to keep as much of the landscape as possible. 

The meeting adjourned at 6:22 p.m. Future Planning Commission meetings are scheduled for March 24, April 15 and May 27, 2021. 


  • The council unanimously approved increasing the height zoning for a five-unit apartment complex located on DeWolf and Shaw Avenues to increase from 2.5 to three stories, not to exceed 35 feet. The complex will include 60 units on 2.6 acres, which is within the high-density residential land use allowances of 15.1 to 25 dwelling units per acre. 

  • With only one public hearing item on the agenda, it was a short and quick Planning Commission meeting. 

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