Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know

  • The commission moved forward a 63-lot single family residential subdivision by D.R. Horton on the northeast corner of West Dakota and North Cornelia Avenues.

  • New Commissioner Haley Wagner joined the meeting for the first time since being appointed by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and approved by the City Council on May 13.\

  • The proposed industrial rezone in Southwest Fresno was “referred back to staff” on the agenda.

The Scene

The Fresno Planning Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, June 2, 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.

New Commissioner Haley Wagner joined the meeting for the first time since being appointed by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and approved by the City Council on May 13. She fills the seat left vacant when Raj Sodhi-Layne resigned from the commission on Jan. 1, 2021. 

The City Council also ratified another new commissioner, Robert Fuentes, a federal attorney who will fill the position on July 1. He will succeed McKenzie whose term expires June 30. 

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

Haley Wagner, Commissioner (also insurance agent for the Arthur J. Gallagher brokerage)

Criner was not present during roll call but joined a minute later then turned his video off. Hardie and Diaz did not have their video on during roll call. McKenzie turned off her video shortly after roll call, but turned it back on toward the end of the meeting. 

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


  • Approved unanimously the agenda. 

  • Approved unanimously updates to Planning Commission rules and regulations, which was discussed at the previous meeting: 

    • Update to the present name of the planning department. 

    • Update the order of business to separate approval of minutes from the consent calendar. 

    • Add a rule requiring the submission of documents to the commission no later than 24 hours prior to the planning commission meeting at which the related item is being heard. 

    • Clerical corrections to grammar and formatting throughout. 

  • Approved unanimously a tentative tract map and environmental assessment for 12.34 acres located on the northeast corner of West Dakota and North Cornelia Avenues. The land will be subdivided by D.R. Horton into a 63-lot single family residential subdivision. 

    • Israel Trejo, supervisor for the planning department, said the applicant was unable to get in using the Zoom link. He asked for a minute to help them get on. 

      • As they waited, Bray asked when they were going to, “do the regulations.” To which, Jennifer Clark, director of planning & development for the City of Fresno, said they had already voted on that on the consent calendar. Bray had just voted yes to this item a minute earlier. 

    • City of Fresno Planner Chris Lang presented the staff’s recommendations to approve the tract map and adopt the mitigated negative declaration prepared for environmental assessment. 

    • Vang asked about a recommendation for a paseo by staff that was included in the packet. To which, Lang said that he wasn’t sure if the applicant has taken that into consideration, but that staff requirements don’t include that. 

    • The applicant, Ernie Escobedo of QK Inc., on behalf of D.R. Horton called in to the meeting. 

      • Vang asked him about the paseo. 

      • Escobedo said that they were providing connectivity to the northeast through a pedestrian path and removing a substreet. “That additional suggestion really doesn’t make sense for the size of the community,” he said. “Just practically it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the number of lots that we have.” 

      • A resident that lives across Dakota Avenue from the subdivision asked what will happen with the intersection on Lodi and Dakota Avenues and landscape in the area. 

        • Lang set a 15-foot landscape setback with a block wall behind it will be required. 

        • Escobedo said that Dakota will be three lanes wide with a center turn lane and no median island.

A previously continued industrial rezone application that originally appeared on the agenda on Feb. 3, 2021, was also noted on the agenda as being, “referred back to staff.” The commissioners made no mention of the item during the meeting. 

Secretary Clark told the commission that the Central Southeast Specific Plan and the West Area Neighborhood Specific Plan have both been released for public comment and staff has been conducting a series of community conversations via Zoom focused on specific topics, including transportation and parks. “It’s been really, really well received,” Clark said. She said she anticipates public comment will be taken over the summer, then environmental review documents will be released in late summer and in the fall the documents should come back to the Planning Commission and City Council for review and adoption. 

Clark also noted that anti-displacement task force meetings continue. She said the next meeting is June 14 and links are on the city’s site. She invited the commissioners and any members of the public who would like to attend. 

Bray then opened the meeting for public comments and no comments were made.

The meeting adjourned at 6:21 p.m. Future meetings are scheduled for June 16, July 7 and 21.

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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