Documenter: Dani Huerta

Here’s what you need to know:

  • A presentation by Left Mendota 1, LLC proposed an amendment that allows non-storefront tenants in the former Canna-hub building to not have double taxation. This would help fill up the empty suites and make the city more money. The council decided to postpone their decision on this.

  • A presentation by Odyssey Agricultural Development, LLC proposed an amendment to their development plans. They want to rotate the layout and split the large building into smaller ones. The Council decided to postpone their decision and to visit the site and view the site plans.

  • City Council adopted an ordinance to establish a business license fee for lessors of residential real property. The fee total is $188.

The Scene

The meeting began at 6:05 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2021, and public attendance was held through Zoom. The meeting opened with a roll call and flag salute. There were no adjustments to the agenda.

City Council Members

  • Roland Castro, Mayor

  • Jesus Mendoza, Mayor Pro Tem

  • Jose Alonso

  • Joseph R. Riofrio

  • Oscar Rosales

  • Christian Gonzalez, City Manager

  • John Kinsey, City Attorney

Actions

  • Chief of Police Kevin Smith recognized Stephany Barrera for her support of the Mendota Police Department

    • Stephany is married to officer Barrera and works in the film industry. Her video on recruitment for the Mendota Police Department was shown.

  • Approved Minutes for the meeting of Aug. 10, 2021

  • Consent Calendar

    • Warrant list check. Total for council approval $1,412,445.63

    • The Council agreed it would be more fitting to talk about this in a closed session. This addition to the agenda was filed beyond the deadline and the Mayor said it was the first time he has seen something like this on the consent calendar.

  • Business

    • Amendment to the development agreement with Left Mendota 1, LLC

      • City Manager Gonzalez introduced topic, Chris from Leftbank Holdings spoke

      • Amendment proposal to for non-storefront retailers

      • Chris’s proposal is to remove double taxation and allow non-storefront retails to occupy the empty space at (previously known as) Canna-hub facility. He considers this a win-win because it allows the city to make more money as well as the retailers. 

        • There are currently no non-storefronts in the building but there are willing to occupy the space if rates are lowered

        • Non-storefront tenants currently pay $50/foot. This amendment would lower that to $42/foot. Other tenants pay $8/foot.

      • Council member Rosales asks if the tenants currently there will be affected if no new tenants move in. Chris replies that they will continue to pay the same rate, the agreement only affects non-storefront retail tenants. Chris wants more non-storefront retail tenants to move in because they pay more taxes. A council member proposes putting a time limit on when tenants can move in. Chris said the amendment can’t hurt because the vacancies are vacant anyway and this would not cause more vacancies because it only affects non-storefront retailers.

      • Chris says this will increase total community benefit collected by the city by 18% and increase community benefit compared to the old ownership group by 52%.

        • The Mayor says he would like to see long term commitment from the new tenants and that the city has been “Bending over backwards for years” without seeing success.

      • The Council agrees to discuss this further later and hold off on their decision for now. They agree to schedule meetings with two council members at a time to discuss this.

    • Amendment to the development agreement with Odyssey Agricultural Development, LLC

      • Gonzalez introduced the topic, Michael Jensen (attorney) & Jon David (head of operations) of Odyssey Agricultural Development gave their presentation

      • Summary of development of project, short term development plan, and  long term changes to property

        • Development agreement approved March 2021

        • Development agreement split into 2 phases. Phase 1 is outdoor cultivation areas and Phase 2 is creating permanent infrastructure & buildings

        • Showed pictures of the large farm that uses outdoor cultivation. Phase 1 includes 11 acres outdoor canopy and  5.5 acres “hoop houses”. Total 16.5 acres. Phase 2 aims to convert 5.5 acres from outdoor canopy to hoop houses. Toal 16.5 acres of canopy

        • Original plan access from the north. Now they want access to the south, basically turned 180 degrees.They also want to split the large building into smaller buildings as an incremental change. They also want to add some additional large scale buildings not on original site plan

        • A council member asks what they will be doing in these structures. Jensen responds they will be drying, processing, manufacturing, cultivating, distributing, and have a corporate building for offices.

      • If no changes are made, Odyssey Agricultural Development will have to ship to a different location to complete their operations. Jensen believes the city would likely prefer them to do as much as possible on-site to capture public benefits from revenue because the city gets part of the revenue streams.

      • A council member asks if the cannabis is currently flowering. David says they are two weeks into flowering with the harvest in October. 

      • A council member says that he doesn’t want to favor the cannabis industry and another council member said they need more research on this

      • A council member asks if they have been approved by the department. Jensen says they will be approved but takes a long time and he doesn’t think it will be an issue. The same council member says they will need an RTO for emissions. Jensen says that pre-engineered systems may make the process faster.

      • A council member asks about the use of water basins. David says it uses city tap water that is filtered and a large retention basin so the facility doesn’t flood.

      • Odyssey Agricultural Development will potentially begin construction this year and be completed next year. They will use Type 7 volatile machines for extraction labs (C1D1 lab room). The ethanol they use is C1B2. A council member asks about releasing butane into the air. David says they use a secondary system to burn off emissions and the units are approved in CA already. The council member notes that the central valley’s rules are different from the rest of CA. They are looking to build structures around the containers.

      • A council member asks Gonzalez how many acres per basin. Gonzalez says it depends on size. Jensen says it depends on the site as a whole. City Engineer Michael Osborn says it is by volume. Size of the basin is determined by areas and amount of rain. 

      • The Council would like to visit in person and look at the site plan before deciding.

  • Public Hearing

    • Consider proposed adoption of Resolution No. 21-68, authorizing the placement of special assessments on the 2022/23 tax roll for 2021 nuisance abatement costs

      • The city performed abatement on two properties. Fire hazards were removed. Letters were mailed to those properties to pay abatement costs. Neither property responded.

      • City Clerk Celeste Caberera-Garcia translated for Maria and Jose Castillo, the owner of one of the abated properties, located on Lolita Street. Mrs. Castillo received an abatement letter in her PO box. At their previous property they used to receive letters to clean but did not receive letters for the property they currently own. An officer advised her that a letter was posted on the property. She asked how she would see this if it was not sent to her. The Castillos became owners of the property in January 2021. They also question why they were the only property on the street to receive abatement letters when the other properties are in the same condition as theirs.

      • Mayor occasionally spoke to Mrs. Castillo in Spanish. Most of this was not translated

      • An officer says the letters are usually posted on the property or mailed. Once received the recipient has two weeks to appeal to the city council. An order to abate was sent as well with no appeal. Warrants were posted on property 24 hours before abatement. No action or appeal cost of abatement. 

      • The Mayor says they need to check if the other notices were mailed to their PO box.Three notices were posted/sent

      • Mrs. Castillio thinks something went wrong with receiving the letters because it is a new property. The Castillios want to hold off on paying the bill before a final decision is made. The Mayor says they will delay this item and look into it for the Sept. 14 city council meeting.

    • Consider proposed adoption of Ordinance No. 21-15, to establish a business license fee for lessors of residential real property (adding Section 5.08.266 to Chapter 5.08 of Title 5 of the Mendota Municipal Code)

      • This fee will be due every year. The proposed fee total is $188, second & subsequent $52, additional business license fee in California $4. The person who pays the utilities pays the fees, not the renter.

      • Intention is to affect everyone who is renting property as a business. This does not apply to houses.

      • The speaker notes that other cities in California are doing this already.

      • City Council agreed to adopt the ordinance

  • Department Reports and Informational Items

    • Monthly report from Animal Control

      • 21 calls, three dead dogs, No dogs taken to Fresno Humane

      • Chief Smith says they need a better plan on how to deal with stray dogs and are planning to build nets instead of one person trying to catch using a snare

    • Monthly report from Code Enforcement

      • 132 calls in July, 45 citations issued, 12 warnings given.

      • A council member says they should not be discouraged about people’s complaints, such as feeling targeted. The Chief said most people comply and few rebel.

    • Monthly report from Police Department

      • Traffic enforcement up since June. 194 citations issued in July compared to 80 in June. DUI”s are up 20%, aggravated assault is up slightly, and domestic violence is up 67%. Vandalism is down 50%. Catalytic converter theft has slowed down.

      • Grand theft is up. Chief Smith notes how stealing cars is not a prisonable offense and it is easy for people who commit this crime to get out quickly and repeat these crimes.

      • There will be more commercial enforcement and more stations to stop big rigs from speeding. Most police officers are not trained in commercial enforcement but they plan on training more.

    • City Attorney Update

      • There is an open lawsuit on file for the Lolita property. The speaker notes that everything is going well

      • They have been working on the cannabis development agreements on the two potential developments as well as trying to figure out how to do convention sessions for the cannabis events in a safe way.

    • City Manager

      • A city sweeper has been down for a few days and is currently being looked at. The city has rented a sweeper while it is being looked at but it is different style

      • Basketball courts have been power washed and will get a second coat of paint

      • Thank volunteers for golf tournament

      • Gonzalez had a conference call with Chief Smith about the police building to confirm that they layout makes things as efficient as possible

      • Little Caesars grand opening last week went well

      • Mowry Bridge is complete and mostly open and will have a grand opening event in the future

  • Mayor & Council reports and Informational Items

    • One council member wants new flags in the park. Another council member said the golf tournament was a success.

    • Mayor said many times people ask for FCC money but do not want to help when the city needs help. He says there is a spike in COVID cases in kids. He hopes that vaccine rates will increase because the vaccine is now FDA approved

The meeting adjourned.

Public Comment

Joseph Amadore of the public asked what location is being considered for the amendment discussed by Left Mendota, LLC. The Mayor said the location is the old Canna-hub. 

During the discussion of the abated properties, he said this topic should be discussed at a public safety meeting instead and that  people should be held accountable for their properties. He says he agrees with Mrs. Castillio that the unmainted properties in this area should be looked after and addressed as public safety issues. 

During the discussion of the business licence fees, he commented that Mendota should do this the right way the first time. He suggested that the City Council look into how well it is going for the other cites that are already implementing these fees.

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

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