Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know

  • The City Council approved an annexation at the northwest corner of Locan and Teague and approved a residential tract map on the southwest corner of Locan and Teague.

  • The Clovis City Council moved forward a 58-unit affordable housing development located at 1703 N. De Wolf Avenue. The developer hopes to receive $22 million in state and federal funding, available in part due to the pandemic and the 2020 Creek Fire.

  • The council approved readopting current objective single family residential design and development standards of single family residential medium density zone district and general property development standards without any changes. The planning department initially recommended reducing setbacks to accommodate developer’s requests, but the council pushed back and did not approve any changes to the current guidelines. 

  • The council discussed maintaining current meeting protocols that were put in place due to the pandemic. They will continue to allow online participation and live streaming of all meetings. 

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on June 21, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda no longer states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19 and none of the council members wore face masks.

Mouanoutoua was absent from the meeting. 

Names of officials:

Jose Flores, Mayor (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)

Lynne Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem (also Senior Vice President Community Engagement and Population Wellness, Valley Children’s Healthcare)

Vong Mouanoutoua, Council Member (also External Relations and Project Development Director, Community Medical Foundation)

Bob Whalen, Council Member (also Fresno County Deputy District Attorney)

Drew Bessinger, Council Member (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)

The meeting opened with Whalen leading the council in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

From there, the meeting was open for public comments, but no one spoke in the chambers or online. It was stated that no correspondence was received either.


  • Approved minutes from June 14 meeting.

  • Approved adoption of the 2021-22 consolidated transportation service agency operations and program budget for Roundup transit services.

  • Approved an updated consultant list for the city.

  • Approved final map for tract 6268, located on the east side of Clovis Avenue, south of Riordan Avenue, which will be subdivided by Continental Estates Clovis, LLC. It will consist of ten residential units on approximately 2.39 acres.

  • Approved annexation of above referenced tract 6268 to the landscape maintenance district 1 of the City of Clovis.

  • Approved final acceptance of final map for tract 6180, located at the southwest corner of North Locan and Teague Avenues. De Young Properties is the developer.

  • Approved annexation of property on the northwest corner of Locan and Teague Avenues and a resolution to declare the results of a special landowner election. 

    • Assistant Finance Director Gina Daniels presented the item. 

    • Maximum annual tax will be $260.08 for single family residential and $224.55 for multi-family residential.

    • Received one ballot representing 36 votes and unanimously approved the levy. 

  • Approved adopting a permanent local housing allocation plan for the permanent local housing allocation (PLHA) program and an application that commits $1.2 million of the program’s funds to The Jefferson Affordable Housing project located at 1703 N. De Wolf Avenue. 

    • Community and Economic Development Director Andy Haussler presented the item. 

    • The PLHA program is a state affordable housing program funded by SB-2 in 2017.

    • It will provide $933.789 for immediate allocation and approximately $1.26 million for future allocations during the five-year program as a loan to the developer. 

    • Haussler said it will be paid back over time and can be used for future affordable housing developments. 

    • Affordable Housing Development Corp. will be the developer.

    • Haussler said the project is positioned to compete for funding and additional opportunities due to the Creek Fire. 

    • The project will consist of 58 affordable units that will be rent restricted to individuals with incomes ranging from 30 to 60% of the area median income (AMI).

      • 10% of the units will be restricted to 30% of AMI, 15% will be restricted to 40% AMI, 40% will be restricted to 50% AMI and the remaining will be restricted to 60% AMI. 

    • Total cost of the project is estimated at $26.7 million. 

    • The California HCD requires city council approval of the 2019-23 Permanent Local Housing Allocation PLan before an application can be submitted for the PLHA program.

    • Ashbeck asked if the project would still be subject to Loma Vista community design guidelines. Haussler said that it is and that the developer is working within the parameters, but that his rendering does not reflect the actual design. 

    • Austin Herzog of Affordable Housing Development Corp. was in council chambers. 

      • He said they put land in escrow very recently and have started working with an architect. 

      • Herzog said they would be applying for $22 million in federal and state tax credits, including funds available due to the Creek Fire.  

      • They are working on other projects utilizing disaster relief funding in Chico and elsewhere. 

    • Whalen said that they want to increase affordable housing, but also want to ensure they meet the community standards. He said that he was concerned about them looking like, “an old government projects of the 50s and 60s.” 

      • Herzog said that in order to meet the timeline they utilized another project just to figure out the site plan. He said they would be using different types of siding and will include an open space and large community center.

      • “It is a small parcel and we do need to achieve certain densities so that’s why you see the three-story,” Herzog said. 

      • Whalen acknowledged the urgency of the requests for this funding. 

      • “We are not just building buildings, we are interested in building community within those affordable housing communities,” Whalen said. 

      • Herzog said full criminal background checks and credit checks would be performed on residents. Local nonprofit partners will provide social services to the residents.

      • “These are stable working families, but they might make $40,000 a year,” Herzog said. “This housing is workforce housing.”

    • Whalen asked if he had reached out to Clovis Unified and Herzog said they haven’t yet. 

    • Herzog said they haven’t had any neighborhood meetings yet, but plan to have meetings to address any concerns they have. 

    • Whalen said along the eastern border there is a canal and if there have been any conversations about accessibility to it via a trail. Herzog said they will be putting the canal underground along the property and a trail will run alongside. 

      • Whalen said he prefers the water features above ground, not below ground. 

      • Herzog said it is expensive to go underground. They haven’t done underground canals elsewhere. 

      • Sean from Engineering said it would be a continuation of work in the area and allows for more parking and spaces per unit by moving the canal underground. 

    • Bessinger asked if Chico property has on-site management and how large it is. Herzog said it does and is one on-site full time manager and a maintenance technician part-time, but could eventually be full-time. 

    • Ashbeck asked about access to public transit. They said it will be evaluated because there hasn’t been a demand for it in Loma Vista. 

    • Flores asked about the term and Herzog said it was a 55-year regulatory use for affordable housing

  • Approved 3-1 readopting current objective single family residential design and development standards of single family residential medium density zone district and general property development standards without any changes. 

    • Approved removing an existing standard requiring that all park and landscape improvements be installed and accepted prior to issuance of 40% of a subdivision tract’s building permit. 

    • City Planner Dave Merchen presented the item. He pointed out that standards must be objective, not subjective based on the councilmember’s opinions. 

    • Ashbeck asked why developments haven’t come in as this R-1 zoning and have been planned residential developments (PRD) instead. 

      • Merchen said the PRD gives them the ability for unique/custom standards proposed by the developer and approved by the council on a project-by-project basis. 

      • Ashbeck said she doesn’t remember approving them as PRDs.

    • Bessinger asked about how he could be more objective in his comments since he had said the affordable housing project wasn’t, “very Loma Vista-ish.” 

      • Merchen said there are various architectural styles that can be articulated or they can refer to the specifics in the guidelines.

      • Ashbeck agreed that they need to be objective so that they can be enforced. 

    • Whalen said in the Loma Vista plan there are both objective and areas for subjectivity. He said the state guidelines from Sacramento have given more authority to developers to not have to follow guidelines from local governments. 

    • Development code amendments increase flexibility of placing homes on lots as small as 4,500 square feet, including reduction to setbacks, smaller garage sizes, increase in lot coverage and allowance for tandem garages (allow for two vehicles to park front to back). 

    • Merchen said the change from a 5’ to 4’ garage side setback had been discussed previously, but extra attention is required for trash enclosures, gas meters and water heaters. 

    • They received a request from the Building Industry Association (BIA) for compact single family standards for lots as small as 1,800 square feet.

    • Ashbeck asked if there was a standard for the placement of homes on lots. Merchen said that is the setbacks, but she clarified it was the homes that were the same exact look next to each other. 

      • “Walking these neighborhoods was tough, they are not aging well and they are not very old,” Ashbeck said.

      • Merchen said there is a requirement about setbacks so homes are not in a straight line, but that they did leave out the repeated model criteria. 

    • Whalen referred to page 106 in the packet. Whalen said he would not want to decrease the setbacks, but actually increase them or keep them the same if they are needing to create objective standards. 

      • “I’m not trying to make it a more dense project when it comes to minimum standards,” Whalen said. “I know we want to get some streamlining, but then these standards are maybe going to be a little bit more difficult to meet because we want to make sure it’s going to be a quality project.” 

      • “If anything, we are making these standards tougher for the builders to meet because they’ve got free reign under these minimum standards,” Whalen said. “Otherwise they can go through the PRD approval process.” 

      • Merchen acknowledged a typo that should say 5 foot setbacks rather than 4 foot setbacks. He said that Whalen’s logic holds, but he would be personally hesitant to increase standards because SB-330 says they need to be consistent to what’s called for in similar zones. 

    • Whalen also said that though BIA is requesting the compact single family standards, it is not approved in any of the zones they have now. 

    • Ashbeck pointed out that the reason they were going to move forward with changes was because PRD projects were getting approved with these changes. 

      • “I really think we are getting so small that in time we might be sorry we didn’t stick to some of these standards,” Ashbeck said. 

    • Flores said SB-330 wants to expedite development and take away the discretion of the council so, “we cannot stop what we don’t like.”

      • “To fight what Sacramento is doing is just welcoming another activity by those groups that claim that we don’t want people here,” Flores said. 

    • Whalen clarified that he shouldn’t have used the word, “difficult,” because the spirit of the law is to expedite development.

    • “I’m not willing to make these changes, I don’t think that’s what we want to do,” Ashbeck said. 

    • Mike Prandini of the BIA was in council chambers to speak in support of the staff’s recommendations. He said the whole purpose of the few changes was to speed up the process by three to four months. 

      • “If you go through the PRD process, you go before the city council and planning commission,” Prandini said. “All of that entails risk.” 

      • He said the purpose of the changes is to speed up the process for developers.

      • Whalen asked him to stay while he spoke so he could address if necessary. Whalen said they are talking about expediting the process, but also making minimum standards that are going to allow for higher density. 

        • “In my view, the cake is being able to expedite the process,” Whalen said. “The eating of the cake is not only expediting the process, but expediting the process with these lower standards that are going to increase density.” “You can’t have your cake and eat it too, you have to choose one.”

        • Prandini said they have allowed developers to build in this manner, so why are they making them go through the PRD process. “If you’re not going to allow these, then why use the PRD,” he said. “In my mind it doesn’t make any sense to make the development community extend their approval process by that much time to get something that the council has awarded in the past.” 

    • Ashbeck asked if there was an assumption that everything would be an R-1-MD zone. Merchen said there wouldn’t be any rezone, but there is some R-1-MD zoned property already out there.

    • Whalen said they don’t want to make any changes to R-1-MD to put new minimum standards in place. 

    • Ashbeck agreed with Whalen, but said she doesn’t think the work is done. “Could we make the PRD process faster?” she said. I would be inclined to vote no or to continue it. 

    • Bessinger said it felt like they were trying to, “sneak one by,” since the standards state 4 foot garage setbacks and 3 foot interior setbacks, which he said is a non-starter for him.

    • Whalen moved to approve resolution and that there be no changes to the R-1-MD standards that they have in place presently. 

    • Ashbeck voted no because she doesn’t feel they are done. 

  • The council provided direction on how city council meetings will be conducted going forward. 

    • Assistant City Manager John Holt asked for their input. 

    • Pre-pandemic they were not televised or streamed. 

    • Currently, meetings are streamed and recorded, allow for email public comments, video is posted to city website and allows for online chat and call-ins. 

    • Ashbeck asked if the state has changed their requirements about calling in to a Webex from a location where the agenda isn’t posted. 

      • Holt said the state is still rolling back those requirements. 

      • “I think we’ve gotten really good feedback on what we’ve done during the pandemic,” Ashbeck said. 

      • She said her goal would be to have 200 listening online. Holt said that 12-15 listen live online and half of which are staff members. 

    • Bessinger said that looking at the public comments they are urging us to stay the course. “I think doing it this way permits our older citizens and perhaps some people with mobility issues to participate,” he said. 

    • Whalen concurred with maintaining what they have been doing. 

    • Flores asked if Webex was the correct platform and if others have been explored. Holt said that Zoom issues were occurring in other cities and Webex has done everything they need it to do.

    • Holt said they had received three public comments in support of continuing to conduct meetings the way they have. 

In closing, City Manager Luke Serpa gave an update on COVID-19 cases and vaccinations in the state and local area. He said they removed mask requirements for people visiting city offices and that Cal OSHA regulations were changed, which allow city employees that are vaccinated to no longer wear masks. He recommended that they remove the COVID-19 update item from the agenda since they have had it since March 2020. Bessinger said that the airport will be offering vaccines for those flying in and out or citizens that choose to get them there. 

Flores then opened the meeting for council comments. Bessinger shared a photograph of his one-week-old grandson with his wife. Whalen said that he will be gone for the July 6 meeting. Ashbeck said she will be gone for the July 12 meeting. Flores reported that their family dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m. Future meetings are scheduled for July 6, 12, and 19. 

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

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