Here’s what you need to know:

  • In its first meeting since Dec. 1, the Fresno Planning Commission received an overview of the city’s cannabis process, regulations and procedures from city staff. The commissioners will be involved in the cannabis CUP appeal process.

  • The commissioners also learned about displacement avoidance and the work of the anti-displacement task force. Through research by the Thrivance Group, the task force has several policy and program recommendations. A city council workshop on the recommendations is scheduled for Feb. 10 with action to follow on Feb. 17 when public comments can be made.

  • For the third time, a decision on a development agreement between the city of Fresno and Parc West Development, Inc. was further continued to Feb. 2. The project pertains to approximately 160 acres located on the west side of Grantland Avenue between West Ashlan and West Gettysburg Avenues.

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Planning Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Some of the commissioners met in the council chambers, while others joined via Zoom. The agenda states that public comments can still be submitted electronically or via Zoom or call in. Meetings also continue to be viewable on CMAC.

The commission currently has two open seats after former Chair Kathy Bray resigned in November 2021, reportedly with the intention to run for the Fresno Unified School Board, and Robert Fuentes resigned in January 2022 to move back to his hometown of Porterville.

Names of officials:

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

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

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

Monica Diaz, Commissioner

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

Vang is in council chambers wearing a mask. Wagner and Criner were present via Zoom and Hardie is present by audio only. Diaz was absent.

It was Vang’s first time serving as chairperson since he was elected by the commissioners on Nov. 17. He replaces former Chair Bray.

No commissioner reports were made.

Director of Planning & Development Jennifer Clark was also in council chambers.


  • Approved the minutes of the Feb. 3, 17 and March 3, 2021 meetings.

  • As noted in the agenda prior to the meeting, a hearing to consider a Parc West development agreement has been further continued to Feb. 2. The project pertains to approximately 160 acres located on the west side of Grantland Avenue between West Ashlan and West Gettysburg Avenues.


  • The commissioners received an overview of the city’s cannabis process, regulations and procedures from Israel Trejo of the Planning and Development Department.

    • Mary Raterman-Doidge and Jennifer Ruiz from the City Manager’s Office were also on the Zoom.

    •  Trejo said the city approved a text amendment to allow various cannabis uses in late 2020.

    • Raterman-Doidge presented information about the cannabis business license tax.

    • Ruiz presented information about the regulatory ordinance and city manager’s evaluation process.

      • She shared information on the social equity application process.

      • Applicants must choose to apply through the social equity process or the traditional process, they can’t do both.

      • Interviews are scheduled with the top applicants in the third phase of the application process.

    • The meeting was paused for a few minutes due to technical difficulties, but resumed at 6:38 p.m.

    • Trejo is now presenting information on the development code.

      • He said most of the applications are for existing buildings.

      • Cannabis CUPs are notified to neighbors within 1,000 feet and they can appeal to the Planning Commission.

    • Raterman-Doidge said cannabis permits are quasi-judicial and Planning Commissioners must make decisions based on what is on the public record.

      • She also said it would be easy for them to have a conflict of interest with so many locations and owners.

  • The commissioners also received an update on displacement avoidance and an overview of the Here to Stay report prepared by the Thrivance Group and anti-displacement task force.

    • Sophia Pagoulatos with the Planning Development Department shared a presentation.

      • The 11-member anti-displacement task force was established in 2018 to avoid displacement caused by substantial and sustained rent increases.

      • With the guidance of the task force, the city hired the Thrivance Group to study displacement in June 2021.

        • They prepared the Here to Stay Report.

        • “The outreach that they did was really remarkable and quite effective,” she said.

        • There are two staff reports.

      • She presented several programs planned:

        • A community land trust has recently been started in Fresno.

    • Pagoulatos said that a Fresno City Council workshop is scheduled for Feb. 10 and council will take action on Feb. 17. Public input can be made on Feb. 17.

    • Criner thanked her for the report.

    • Wagner asked about the community land trust. She asked if the city owns the land and they own the home, what would happen if there was a loss? Would the city help them rebuild?

      • Pagoulatos said she wasn’t sure, but they could look into it.

In closing, Clark said the League of California Cities Planning Commissioners meeting is coming up March 16-18. She asked Vang to let them know if he can attend by the end of January.

Vang opened the meeting for unscheduled comments:

  • Lisa Flores of District 1 spoke via Zoom. She said she was contacted by several members of the public who were participating in tonight’s meeting and had concerns and issues about the workshops that were presented tonight.

    • She said what is the unbiased oversight in regards to cannabis licenses. She said four to five planned for Tower District was oversaturation and would greatly increase traffic.

    • She also said she is a great proponent of rent control in Fresno.

  • Eric Payne, Executive Director of Urban Institute and Chair of the Anti-Displacement Task Force, was in council chambers.

    • “It is a historic moment for us to be presenting these affirmations with you and the city council,” he said.

    • He said the Thrivance Group has done an amazing job at getting to the finite policies that affect anti-displacement.

    • “We are hopeful that the city council and the mayor will continue to make the necessary investments for the implementation of this plan,” he said.

    • He also hoped they would support the formation of a commission from the task force.

  • Grecia Elenes of Leadership Council and Vice Chair of the Anti-Displacement Task Force, was on Zoom.

    • She said she appreciates all the work the task force, Thrivance Group and city staff did on the report.

    • “This is a long time coming as fellow community member, Lisa Flores, mentioned there is a crisis out here and we really need to move this forward,” she said. “There are a lot of jurisdictions that even after the passing of AB1482 have themselves passed their own rent control/stabilization policies that fall perfectly in line with California statute and this is long overdue as we’ve seen rents going up by over 20% increase in just a single year, we’re looking at apartments that are a single bedroom for $1,000, I don’t think most of us can afford that, especially our most vulnerable populations.”

    • “If we really, truly want to tackle this and make policy, these are some of the solutions and recommendations that experts have provided us,” she said.

    • “I really hope that the city council moves these comprehensive policies to really address a lot of the issues that our communities are facing today,” she said.

  • Brandi N spoke via Zoom. She said she encourages support of the anti-displacement recommendations.

In closing, Vang thanked staff for all their hard work and shared his appreciation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday remembrance events.

The meeting adjourned at  7:24 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2. They usually occur on the first and third Wednesdays of the month

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

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