Here’s what you need to know:

  • After hearing concerns from four community members about it not aligning with the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan and gentrifying the neighborhood, the Fresno Planning Commission approved an amendment to the development agreement for the West Creek Village Project. The amendment removes the number of units dedicated to specific residential housing types, while retaining the overall number of 481 residential units. It will now go to the Fresno City Council for approval. 
  • The commissioners also approved a development agreement for Granville Homes to develop Parc West on approximately 160 acres located on the west side of Grantland Avenue between West Ashlan and West Gettysburg Avenues. Darius Assemi said the project still has three points of contention that he hopes to resolve before it goes to the city council, which involve the park fees, vesting rights and an indemnity clause. 
  • Due to lack of quorum for the second time, the commission continued to May 18 the appeal of a Conditional Use Permit application authorizing the construction of an 80-foot mono-pine Verizon telecommunications tower and facility with ground equipment located on Mono and R Streets abutting Highway 41. 

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Planning Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. 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 and Diaz were in council chambers. Criner was present by video, Hardie was present by audio. Wagner was absent. 

Director of Planning & Development Jennifer Clark and Planning Manager Will Tackett were also in council chambers.

There were no changes to the agenda. No commissioner reports were made. 


  • Approved the minutes of the Sept. 1, 2021 meeting. 
  • Due to lack of quorum, the commission continued to May 18 the appeal of a Conditional Use Permit application for the construction of an 80-foot mono-pine Verizon telecommunications tower and facility with ground equipment located on Mono and R Streets abutting Highway 41. 
    • Item was continued from April 20 due to lack of quorum. 
    • Planner Steven Martinez presented the item. 
    • Applicant is Tricia Knight of TEK Consulting Inc. on behalf of Verizon Wireless. 
    • Located at 640 R. Street in Council District 3 (Arias). 
    • Received six letters in opposition, including from the Huntington Park Condominium Village Board of Directors, and one in support. 
    • Vang asked if any individuals have reached out to Martinez since the April meeting and he said no one has. 
    • During the presentation, it was discovered that Regency Property Management manages the condos.
    • As President of Regency Property Management, Commissioner Hardie recused himself losing a quorum and the item was continued to the May 18 meeting.
    • Peter Ferreri and Tricia Knight, Walt Kohls and Paul Albritton were on Zoom representing Verizon:
      • Knight said a service gap was identified in fall 2019 that led them to begin researching sites in 2020. 
      • The tower will provide new reliable in-building service to 6,190 residents and service in roadways including Highway 41. 
      • She said they had a Zoom call with the appellants on May 3, which was about an hour long. 
        • “We have reasons as to why they would not function well for us extending our coverage in this location,” she said. 
    • Vang asked if the other 6 sites out of 17 sites would work. She referred to a slide and said they would not fill the specific service gap that needs to be covered. 
    • Sean Boyd, resident of Huntington Park Condominium Village in Downtown Fresno, presented in council chambers, along with neighbors Ranee Johnson and Larry Taylor. 
      • Chair Vang gave him an additional three minutes to present. 
      • As President of Regency Property Management, Hardie recused himself as property manager of the property. 
      • Continued to May 18 meeting due to lack of quorum. 
  • Approved the adoption of an addendum to the environmental assessment and amending the development agreement for the West Creek Village Project, which  removes the number of units dedicated to specific residential housing types, but retains the overall number of 481 residential units. 
    • Planner Rob Holt is presenting the item. 
    •  The agreement is between the City of Fresno and 2500 MLK, LLC. 
    • Continued from the April meeting and they have met with four members of the community since to discuss the project. 
    • Located on the west side of South Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., south of East Church Ave.
    • Continued from April 20 due to resident concerns that they weren’t notified. 
    • Addendum proposes to remove the number of units respective to specified residential housing types while retaining the overall total number of residential units at 481. 
      • The prior agreement read 92 single-family detached, 25 single-family attached, 264 multi-family and 100 lofts over ground floor retail. 
      • The West Creek Village Project area is within the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan. 
    • Criner asked about the meetings on April 25 and May 3. Holt said there were four attendees at the first and three at the second meeting, for a total of seven. 
      • Criner asked if the meetings were successful and Holt said they are in attendance tonight. 
    • Vang asked about the 481 being the maximum number and clarified that they are removing the number of units respective to specified residential housing types while retaining the overall total number of residential units at 481. 
    • The applicants, Jim Shahadi and Sylvester Hall, were in council chambers. 
      • Hall said he is a 75 year resident of Southwest Fresno. 
      • He said he wrote the Specific Plan for the West Creek Village area. 
      • “We are targeting those homes for our residents of Southwest Fresno,” Hall said. 
      • He said this should have been just a “technical change”, but it has become a “major change.”
      • He said they are talking about adding 21 homes to their plan now. 
      • He said they invited thousands of students and community members to their meetings. 
      • Shahadi said this gives them flexibility going forward. 
    • Vang asked if they’ve had any correspondence with the public. 
      • Hall said he has over 300 family members that live in Southwest Fresno and that he attended schools there. 
      • “We talk to people every day,” he said. 
      • Hall said this will provide for the community for years to come. 
    • There were no public comments in support. 
    • Public comments in opposition: 
      • Diane Smith was in council chambers. She said the problem being ignored there is the “total picture.” “I’ve been screaming for community improvement for generations,” she said. 
        • She said the widening of the streets will take other people’s property and was concerned about the impacts of the changes and the “domino effect” they will have on the entirety of Southwest Fresno. 
        • She said she spoke with Council Member Arias and Shahadi previously, but that they said they are only responsible for meeting the noticing requirements, which she said some neighbors who she thought should have been noticed did not receive notice. 
      • Vernette Harris was also in council chambers. She said they only had three community workshops with 125 and 60, respectively, so that they didn’t have thousands. 
        • She held up a map showing the changes in the development. 
        • She said when you add commercial, you are adding traffic. 
        • “We are a blighted area, we can not afford $1,200, anything above $1,000 in our community,” she said. 
        • “This is a magnacore and they can have another magnacore out by 180,” she said. 
        • “They are gentrifying our community, they did not notify us,” she said. 
        • “We want improvement in our neighborhood, we want to be included, they wouldn’t have took this across town,” she said. 
        • She was concerned about the TCC funds and that they weren’t spent in their community. 
        • Harris said that they spoke to Arias before he was in office, but hasn’t had a meeting with them since. 
      • Bobby Parks, resident of West Fresno with HEAT. 
        • She said when they had the charette at Gaston Middle School, none of them had received notification. 
        • “What is going to happen, is going to gentrify our community and these community people didn’t know what was going on,” she said. 
      • Emily Brand was in chambers. She said that they recently had a meeting with Tackett. 
        • She said this development is not part of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan. 
      • In response, Hall said “this work is about the people of Southwest Fresno and the community. We realize that planning is very technical, policies and procedures have to be followed.”
      • Shahadi said that they have always met with anyone that wants to speak with them and will continue to do so. 
    • Vang confirmed that the next step would be to bring this before the city council. 
    • Criner said he is torn because of the amount of community “passion” about this. 
    • Vang said he was torn as well. “We as a community, the power of local politics is that we can make a change, we have an influence,” he said. “To me, if we move forward with staff’s recommendations, I do encourage any individual with concerns to reach out to their representative.” 
  • Approved a development agreement between the city and Parc West Development, Inc. The Granville Homes project pertains to approximately 160 acres located on the west side of Grantland Avenue between West Ashlan and West Gettysburg Avenues. 
    • Planning Manager Will Tackett presented the item: 
      • Has been noted on the agenda and continued for several months. 
      • The proposed agreement will continue for 15 years and all maps will remain vested for a 15-year term.
      • A minimum two-acre park and internal trails will be built no later than 12 months following the occupancy of 240 homes. 
    • Darius Assemi of Granville Homes was in chambers:
      • He said they are working with city staff on three items that they hope to have resolved prior to going before the city council next week. 
      • He said, “we are trying to change the dynamic of what’s happening west of 99.” 
      • He said late last year they were in agreement on all parts of the agreement, but now they have three points of contention: 
        • The park-the park would cost $3.5 million in park impact fees to the City of Fresno. They would like to create a park like what is in Copper River instead, which will cost $1.8 million. 
          • He said if they are not able to get the 50% credit, they will have to strip the basketball court and soccer fields and shade structure. 
        • The vesting rights. He said they are putting in $28 million of infrastructure and building a variety of housing options. He said they will pay the fee increases, but “we don’t want to be subjected to new fees.”
        • An indemnity agreement, which is a release of liability from the city of Fresno. He said it impacts every development in the city of Fresno. “We simply cannot purchase insurance that goes into perpetuity,” he said. 
          • “Our entire company could be jeopardized by signing that agreement,” he said. “We should not be burdened with that issue into perpetuity.” 
    • Hardie asked if they are able to make those changes. 
      • Tackett said they can’t make recommendations on legal risk and they can only go by what is in front of them in the report. 
    • Vang asked if the park would be two acres. Assemi said it would, but would be stripped of some elements depending on the percentage of fees. 
    • Drew Phelps of Granville Homes was also in chambers. He said there was a cap put on the amount of park fees they could keep for the development this year. 
      • He said the VMT fees first came up last week. 
      • He said there were a couple other small issues, including a CFD tax for public safety, which is something they had requested as part of the original proposal of the agreement. 
        • He said new language added last Friday doesn’t allow them to add that and makes them join an existing CFD. 
      • He said another sticking point is right of way acquisition. 
      • He said they have made multiple concessions, including water well, timing of park construction, etc. 
    • Vang asked Tackett if he had any response to their concerns. Tackett said that they are asking for 15-years vesting and state law only requires 10 years. 
      • He said beyond the term of the Map Act, they would be required to pay fees beyond the term of the Map Act. 
    • No public comments were made. 
    • Assemi said the right of way issue that Tackett mentioned is about the construction of Veterans Boulevard. 
      • He said they have to have part of it open at the 450th building permit. 
      • He said that if a property owner doesn’t want to sell, only the city can condemn a property to get the property. But they won’t be able to get any more building permits. 
      • “We want some stability on what the cost is going to be,” he said. 
    • Vang said he doesn’t want to hold this up and recommended approval, which was voted on unanimously. 
  • Continued to May 18 a rezone application pertaining to approximately 5.57 acres of property located on the southwest corner of West Bullard Avenue and North Del Mar Avenue. 


  • Update on the Housing Element 2021 Annual Progress Report with public comment. 
    • Sophia Pagoulatos is presenting the update. 
    • She said there are 28 different programs, which she will provide an overview of a few. 
    • Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is a total of 23,565 housing sites with 5,666 extremely/very low-income households and 3,28
    • She said the city does have adequate land capacity to meet RHNA requirements. 
    • Ivanka Saunders with Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability was on Zoom. 
      • This annual progress report shows no building permits were issued for deed restricted for very low and extremely low income. 
      • “We are in a housing crisis and the city and our leaders continue to speak on housing but there’s not enough action,” she said. 
      • “We need to be doing this especially as we see historical rental rates in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. 
    • Brandi Venegas said that she echoes Saunders’ thoughts. 
      • She said she is concerned with the numbers of low income housing compared to the need. 
    • Marcia Vander Poel was online and asked how she can find out “if a property has been slated for RHNA.” 
      • “I’m all for affordable housing, but I am concerned about the density,” she said. 
      • She said that she is concerned about parking for the developments and low income housing is causing some people to move out of their neighborhoods. 
      • “I’m all about opportunity, but I’m even more about safety,” she said. 
      • She was concerned that the neighborhood would be “bookended” with Section Eight housing and said she would like to see a map of crime in relation to low income housing. 
    • A resident in chambers, Priscilla, said she was there for a rezone application, but that she is concerned about how many affordable housing projects can be in one neighborhood. 
      • She was also concerned about safety and “the violence” that low income housing could bring. 
    • Another resident in chambers, said she was “caught off guard” that low income housing was coming into their neighborhood and they would like to be notified. 
      • “Communication prior to any changes is the most beneficial so that we can all work together on this,” she said. 
    • It was noted that Vander Poel was raising her hand and Vang said they were ok and would move on. 
    • Pagoulatos said that all comments would be prepared for the city council that will review the report later this month before it goes to the State of California. 
    • Vang said that he thinks the ultimate goal is to reduce crime rates overall, regardless of what area they live in. 
  • Overview of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, adopted Oct. 26, 2017. 
    • Pagoulatos presented the overview. 
    • She said there were three land use visions that the community wanted: complete neighborhoods, magnet cores and corridors.
    • Diaz asked if Chinatown was included in this plan and Pagoulatos said it was in the Downtown Plan. 
    • Vang asked how successful the implementation has been and how close it is to the plan itself. Pagoulatos said they can include that in a future report. 

In closing, Clark thanked the commissioners and said that they plan to have more extensive meetings in the summer and to have new appointments to the commission. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for May 18. They usually occur on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

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