Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Summary

  • The commission moved forward an 18-unit condominium development on North Van Ness and East Alhambra Avenues in the Tower District. The commission approved a tentative tract map and its CEQA exemption. The site has sat empty for at least 50 years and the condos will allow for individual ownership.

  • The commission granted a request by the applicant to further continue an item commission approved further continuing a decision on an alcohol license for a proposed 7-Eleven at 2020 West Shaw Avenue at the northwest corner of West Shaw and North West Avenues. This item has already been continued twice since it was first before the commission on Feb. 3 and will now be continued to an unknown date.

The Scene

The Fresno Planning Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The agenda states that due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, all City of Fresno public meetings are held via Zoom or phone and the council chambers are closed to the public. Meetings are also viewable on CMAC and the City of Fresno’s YouTube channel.

Names of officials:

Kathy Bray, Chairperson (also owner of Denham Resources)

Brad Hardie, Vice Chair (also President of Regency Property Management)

David Criner, Commissioner (also pastor at Saint Rest Baptist Church)

Debra McKenzie, Commissioner (also Director of Administration for Central California Legal Services)

Peter Vang, Commissioner (also Associate at Thiesen Dueker Financial Consulting Group)

Monica Diaz, Commissioner

Vacant, Commissioner (Raj Sodhi-Layne resigned from the commission on Jan. 1, 2021, creating a vacant vice chair position. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer took office in January 2021 and it has been reported that he selected Haley Wagner-Drilling to fill the vacant seat, but her appointment is awaiting approval by the Fresno City Council.) 

All commissioners were present during roll call, via Zoom or phone. To which, Bray said, “Yay, we have a quorum.” McKenzie was absent last week and since some of the commissioners had to recuse themselves, they didn’t have the quorum necessary to vote on two items, which are on the agenda for this meeting as a result. 

The meeting opened quickly with the Pledge of Allegiance, during which an image of an American flag was shown on screen. 

Mike Sanchez, City of Fresno planning manager, said they received a request earlier in the day for item 1A  to be referred back to staff. They would like to continue the item to a date uncertain and have more time to present more information. City staff and the commission agreed to the obligations for re-noticing. 

Actions

  • Per the applicant’s request, the commission approved continuing an alcohol license for a proposed 7-Eleven at 2020 West Shaw Avenue at the northwest corner of West Shaw and North West Avenues. This item has been continued twice since it was first before the commission on Feb. 3 and will now be continued to an unknown date. 

    • The applicant requested the continuation so they have more time to gather and present information. 

    • City staff and the commission agreed to re-noticing obligations since it will now be continued to an unknown date. 

  • Approved unanimously a tentative tract map for a condominium subdivision on .74 acres of property located on the northwest corner of North Van Ness and East Alhambra Avenues and adopted an environmental assessment and determination that the proposed project is exempt from the provisions of CEQA.

    • Monica Diaz recused herself.

    • Originally continued from March 17 due to technical issues, then from Feb. 3 due to not having a quorum.

    • Rob Holt, planner II, presented the item for the commission. 

    • Opposition to the project was received due to it being exempt from CEQA and due to concerns about parking issues and increased traffic.

    • Holt said the project consists of 18 one-bedroom residential units, which require a minimum of 14 covered parking stalls and four guest parking stalls. The project plans include more than the minimum with 18 private garages and 17 guest parking stalls.

    • He said the project was reviewed by the Public Works Department and it was determined that based on the number of trips, it would not require a traffic impact study.

    • Holt said the condos will allow for individual ownership. 

    • “Condo maps provide diversity and variation of building types scaled to the building in order to reinforce the identity of individual neighborhoods, to foster a variety of market-based options for living and working to suit a large range of incomes and further affordable housing opportunities throughout the city, which is consistent with policy,” he said. 

    • Holt said the property has been vacant for at least 50 years. 

    • “California is in a severe housing crisis where experts state that California needs to double its current rate of housing production to keep up with expected population growth and prevent prices from further increasing,” Holt said. 

    • Drew Felt spoke on behalf of the applicant, Tower Village LLC. “We are very excited about this project because to reiterate it does fulfill a lot of general plan goals in terms of addressing infill needs,” he said. 

    • No members of the public made comments. 

    • Vang made the motion to approve staff’s recommendations and it was seconded by Hardie. 

Jennifer Clark, director of planning & development for the City of Fresno,  told the commission that they would resume workshops prior to the commission meetings starting in May.

Bray opened the meeting for public comments and no comments were made.
The meeting adjourned at 6:18 p.m. Future meetings are scheduled for May 5 and May 19.

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at Documenters-admin@thefresnoland.com with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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