Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Clovis City Council held a joint meeting with the Clovis Planning Commission. They discussed the General Plan update, Senate Bill 9, Vehicle Miles Traveled and a request from the Building Industry Association for feedback on compact single family residential development standards. 
  • The council members were adamantly opposed to developing compact single-family residential standards based on what the BIA was requesting and called its amenity list “offensive” for including trash cans and benches. Planning staff agreed saying that developments with deviations such as reduced setbacks can continue going through the Planned Development Permit process. 
  • The council also approved 12 items on the consent calendar, including a $1.2 million asphalt seal contract for the Blackhorse subdivision and a general plan amendment from Industrial to Office for a 2.51 acre parcel on the west side of Clovis Avenue immediately north of Freeway 168.

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on April 4, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. According to the agenda, the meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. 

Three attendees were present via Webex and one was watching live via Youtube at the start of the meeting.  

Clovis City Council Members:

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 and candidate for Fresno County Superior Court judge)

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

Clovis Planning Commission Members:

Paul Hinkle, Chair (also real estate agent with Kellner Properties)

Mike Cunningham, Chair Pro Tem

Alma Antuna

Brandon Bedsted

Amy Hatcher

Bessinger led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was noted that Council Member Mouanoutoua was running late. 

From there, the meeting was open for public comment and no public comments were made online or in council chambers. 

Flores said he is conflicted on Items 11 and 12 and requested that they be pulled from the consent calendar. All other items were approved. He then recused himself from items 11 and 12 because they are located close to property that he owns. They were then approved without discussion. 


  • Approved minutes from the March 21 meeting. 
  • Received and filed investment and treasurer’s reports for November  and December 2021. 
  • Approve the execution of the certificates of assurances for the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) and submission of one project for FY 2021-2022. 
    • According to the agenda, this year’s allocation is $334,109 and will be combined with past and future allocations to accumulate enough funds to purchase a battery-electric bus. 
  • Approve selection of BMY Construction Group, Inc. to provide $360,600 in water damage repair work at the Public Safety Facility at 1233 5th Street. 
    • The agenda states that on April 30, 2021 Lee’s Plumbing and Heating made repairs to the main water line in the ceiling over the bathrooms in the facility, but the repair failed and flooded a portion of the building. 
  • Approve bid award for rubberized cape seal 2022 in the Blackhorse subdivision to American Asphalt South, Inc. in the amount of $1.2 million. 
  • Approve a request to adopt a resolution approving the initiation of an application for a general plan amendment from Industrial to Office for a 2.51 acre parcel on the west side of Clovis Avenue immediately north of Freeway 168.
    • The agenda states that the owner of the property is working with staff to evaluate the submittal requirements for a potential hotel project on the site.  
  • Approve contract for $423,499 to American Paving Co. for Old Town Clovis Streetscape 2021. 
  • Approve final map and annexation for tract 6349, located in the Northeast area of Locan and Shaw Avenues. 
  • Received and filed joint meeting of the Planning Commision and City Council presented by Director of Planning and Development Services Renee Mathis:
    • Mathis said they have issued 500 residential permits and anticipate hitting the historical average of 800 this year. 
      • In the queue, they have just under 300 permits, predominantly multi-family, including a project in Loma Vista and 50 single-family. 
    • In Loma Vista, she said they are very close to completing fire station 6 by the end of April or May. 
    • She said the Village Green will be going out to bid for contractors. 
    • June 2022, street work around Village Green will be completed. 
    • 300-acre master-planned development Home Place in progress. 
    • Fire Station 2-training facility in production
    • Heritage Grove-a similar development to The Row is in the works. “It’s a very attractive development, they’ve done a really good job working with their consultants,” she said. 
    • City Engineer Mike Harrison then presented Measure C projects:
      • DeWolf to Leonard Shaw widening project for about a year. 
      • Leonard to Highland closed for about six months. 
      • Herndon Avenue widening to Locan Avenue, adding two traffic signals at DeWolf and Locan Avenues. 
      • Nees Avenue between Minnewawa and Clovis Avenues, in conjunction with the development of the Well Church. 
      • Auberry Road left turn lane for trucks turning into landfill. 
      • Working on locating a new well site near Willow and Behymer Avenues for the Heritage Grove area. 
        • Whalen asked about water right’s from any district-”Are we going to have sustainable groundwater for that area?” 
        • He was told that they will need to work an arrangement with Garfield or make an arrangement. 
      • Major development on developer’s impact fees, “numbers are quite high based on the construction we’ve been experiencing.” 
      • Ashbeck asked if the projects funded by Measure C have a sign that they were funded by it. She was told that they do. 
    • General Plan Update-phased approach
      • Existing general plan adopted in 2014, but starting the process now it will probably be about ten years old. 
      • First phase starts in May-an audit of the general plan and its effectiveness. 
        • Will address new increases in densities and land use laws. 
        • They will return to council with a strategy then go out with an RFP for a general plan update. 
        • They will ask the council for approval for the first phase in May. 
        • Anticipate it could take 4-6 months to complete the first phase. 
    • Senate Bill 9-The California HOME Act
      • In January 2022, SB9 went into effect in single-family zones. 
      • Mathis said there are some setback requirements and the state allows four feet setbacks. 
      • She said the standards can’t restrict two 800 square-foot homes on one lot as long as there is parking. 
      • She said you can’t subdivide previously subdivided lots. 
      • “You can’t have multiple lots next to each other owned by one person trying to subdivide multiple lots under SB9,” she said. 
      • She said they are trying to read through and understand it. 
      • Creating an SB9 checklist with criteria and anticipate it will be complete this month or early May. 
      • Possibly creating an SB9 for the lot split because now 
      • They have had less than a half dozen inquiries about lot splits. 
      • They have one actual application for Downtown Clovis-looking at splitting one lot. 
      • Mathis said SB9 lot splits could apply to 1,200 lots that could potentially qualify. 
      • Ashbeck asked if there were public noticing requirements-Mathis said no. Ashbeck asked if they could impose that and Mathis said no, it’s all ministerial. 
      • Flores asked if they could raze an older home to make way for multiple homes. Mathis said yes, but it depends on if a tenant is there and other items. 
      • Hinkle said that Cal Cities is concerned about a bill that is in committee, SB897, could allow 25-foot height. 
      • Cunningham asked if anyone from Sacramento has contacted the city to see how their changes would impact it. Mathis said no. “This is all unilaterally imposed on Clovis and all the 
      • “It’s one party doing this to everyone else and there’s one party trying to mitigate this but they’re outnumbered,” Flores said. 
      • Mouanoutoua said he sits on a committee and they wrote letters opposing this. 
      • Mouanoutoua asked if someone could split multiple lots. Mathis said they aren’t supposed to be adjacent. 
        • City Attorney Scott Cross said that it’s not clear whether they could be neighborhoring properties. 
        • Mouanoutoua asked how prepared they are for infrastructure, if they do lot splits. 
        • Cross said the applicant has to sign an affidavit that they intend to occupy one of the resulting units for at least three years. 
        • “There are some guardrails in the law that would prevent the widespread abuse that you might be worried about,” he said. 
    • Vehicle Miles Traveled-Circulation Element and Focused Environmental Impact Report
      • In July 2020, the metric under CEQA changed to average distance traveled. 
      • City hired Kittleson & Associates to develop VMT guidelines. 
      • Mathis said they noticed that developers weren’t falling below the regional average so they were needing to do “large environmental impact studies” to address traffic. 
      • New maps available in May based on new guidelines and anticipate Kittleson’s work will be done this summer. 
      • If the decision of council is to approve new guidelines, any project approved should be able to tier off of the VMT guidelines and not require an EIR. 
      • Mathis said some projects will still have to complete EIRs, others are waiting so they can tier off of the city’s VMT study. 
    • Building Industry Association’s request for feedback on compact single family residential development standards
      • The BIA has requested that the City consider establishing objective standards for lots less than 4,500 square feet, referred to as compact single-family development. 
      • Includes minimum parcel size of 1,800 square feet and minimum setbacks of 5 feet in front and back with a total of 7 feet combined for side setbacks. 
      • Also decreased garage size of 18’ x 20’ for two-car garage and 10’ x 16’ for single-car garage. 
      • Mathis said they are requesting them to codify these changes so it makes developments more predictable, save costs and save time. 
      • She said the PDP process allowed them to approve projects on smaller lots by considering the overall project. 
      • Mike Prandini of BIA was in council chambers. 
      • Mouanoutoua asked what staff’s position is on the compact single-family standards. 
        • Mathis said that table 3 shows the existing standards. “At this point, staff has indicated that we would not be in support of a reduction, which was solely based on council feedback. She said the council liked to weigh in. 
        • She said there was a process in place and it was working well even if it added a little time. 
        • She said they were not in support, based on past direction. 
      • Mouanoutoua asked again about what staff would recommend objectively, rather than what the council has said in the past. 
        • Mathis said the Planning Division does like having the opportunity to work with developers when they ask for exceptions. “This really takes that ability to do that away,” she said. “We really lose that ability to weigh in with the developer and doing something unique in that area.” 
      • Whalen asked about attachment 3. He asked if compact would be underneath R-2 standards or would this be completely separate. 
        • Staff said it could be called something different. 
        • “I think it comes down to a very simple philosophy: do we want a separate compact standard or do we want to use the PDP process,” City Planner Dave Merchen said. 
        • Mathis said they like the PDP process and think it works. 
        • She said the developer would pick their own amenity, ranging from a trash can to a tot lot to a shade structure. 
    • Ashbeck said she thinks the general plan update is really important and it should not take so long because the decisions they make today, won’t be the same in five years. 
      • She said that she does not want to live in a place with 1,800 lots and a trash can. She said 50 years from now, that is not going to be a neighborhood they want to live in. 
      • “We can not give away density for a trash can,” she said. 
    • BIA President Mike Prandini is in council chambers. 
      • He said builders going through the PDP process are taking up to six months and there’s no certainty that they are going to get approved for what they are trying to design. 
      • He said that if they get turned down after going through the process, they waste several hundred thousand dollars. 
      • “Cost for homes in Clovis is getting way out of reach, we’re over $430,000 a unit for homes in Clovis which is way over entry level so we’re looking for a way to build entry level,” he said. 
      • He said lumbar has gone up $18,000 per home. 
      • He said state regulations are also requiring them to build 30-50 units per acre. “There’s no place in Clovis that’s got 30 units an acre,” he said.
      • “We’re thinking that 15 units an acre would work in some places,” he said. 
      • He said that what they are requesting is to put the question back to staff what those standards should be. 
    • Ashbeck said that they often hear that they’ll just go to Madera or Riverstone and the prices aren’t any better there. 
      • She said that the amenity list provided by BIA was “offensive.” “From my heart, I am offended by the list, there is nothing amenity like about a bench or a trash can,” she said. 
        • Prandini said they just came up with a list and she said that he said that last time. 
    • Whalen agreed with Ashbeck. “You can not be taken seriously with an amenity-list like this,” he said. 
      • He said that with this they get projects 3-5 years out that do not look good. 
      • “There is absolutely no way that I have confidence coming up with objective standards with the BIA with a list like this,” he said. 
      • He said the question that needs to be asked and answered. “Why is it that some of these higher density projects we’ve approved have gone to pot,” he said. Then they can look at what went wrong and how it can be mitigated going forward. 
    • Mouanoutoua asked how many projects didn’t go through because of the PDP process time. 
      • Prandini said that developers have to be certain about what it’s going to cost them and with a variable process they have no control over it. 
      • “They have to gamble with the cost of the architectural development of a home that will fit on that lot,” he said. 
      • He said they have to design four to five different models and architects don’t come cheap. 
      • “They are investing a lot of money just on the chance that they might be able to develop under the variable process,” he said. 
      • Mouanoutoua said they need developers to come and show them where the neighborhoods have been built. “We also need certainty about what the product is that will fit this community,” he said. 
    • Mathis said they have not denied a project through the PDP, but there has been some back and forth. 
      • Mouanoutoua said that he would be interested in seeing one go through as proposed. But a six-month delay does not make a project go through. 
    • Bessinger told Prandini that they need assurance and certainty about what the project would look like 15 to 30 years down the road. “I’m not averse to the conversation, but I’m not ready to buy that car until I kick the tires,” he said. 
      • Prandini said that’s the issue because there is no standard. 
      • Flores said then show them an example of a viable, vibrant community where those issues don’t exist. 
        • He said the ones that they have approved were like “pilot projects” in the community and they don’t like the results. 
    • Prandini said that they were looking for direction from staff and the council on this. He said hopefully in a month or so, they’ll have more information for staff to present. 
    • Ashbeck said she wants to know how these developments impact the community. 
    • Bessinger said he wants to see nightime pictures of parking. He said he talked to firefighters concerned due to the width of parked cars. 
    • Prandini said that getting the VMT issue sorted is important. “The reason you don’t have a lot of projects coming forward is because of VMT,” he said. “They’ve got some proposals out there…there’s no calculation about what that’s going to cost. 
      • He said the least expensive was $40,000 per unit up to $1 million for mitigation per unit in San Diego County. 
      • “You have not had a project approved since July 1, 2020, that would have to be subject to VMT,” he said. 
      • Mathis said there is criteria where projects can be screened out. 
      • He said those projects are 50 units or less. 
      • “The problem is now we’re almost two years into this process and it’s not going to be easy to catch up,” he said. “Even if we get it solved by July, you’re talking into 2023 before you can start a new project.” 
      • “We know right now that even a fee is going to be high, but the alternative is worse because you don’t know what it’s going to cost,” he said. 
      • Mathis said they do have more than 4,000 units in the pipeline and other larger developments, like a 600-unit development on Behymer, which require environmental studies regardless of VMT. 
    • Hinkle said that some cities and developers are working with HOAs to require things like requirements for parking a car in a garage and in the driveway before parking on the street. 
    • Mouanoutoua said that he thinks what was lost in the last discussion was solutions for helping them build what they need most. “This council has always approved whatever project that comes before it,” he said. “I just wanted to assure you that that’s what we want, like the mayor always says everyone is welcome here.” 

Flores opened the meeting for comments by City Manager John Holt: 

  • He thanked the Planning Commission for being there and said they would like to try and get together at least once per year going forward. 

Flores then opened the meeting for council comments:

  • Hatcher said it’s hard for her to envision making standards for development that hasn’t been built. 
  • Bedsted said he thought it was important to keep defining “what is Clovis?” and they need more input. 
  • Antuna thanked the council for the opportunity. She said that there is merit to what BIA is saying because everyone should be able to live here. “We want to have smaller communities within our larger community,” she said. 
  • Cunningham said that he likes more frequent meetings because then they are all speaking with one voice. He said he agrees with what the council said about the BIA’s request. 
  • Hinkle said they all want to be in the same community, having the same direction and would like to meet at least one per year. 
  • Whalen thanked staff because there has been a lot happening in Clovis. He said looking at how they get affordable housing in Clovis is important, but that at some point something is going to have to give because California is “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.” 
  • Mouanoutoua thanked the Planning Commissioners. He said that they decided that they had to meet during the pandemic and he never reached out to see how they felt about that. He said that they are the face of government that residents see in regards to land use. 
  • Bessinger thanked the commissioners for coming. He said what they do is incredibly important. He said that there are some projects he knows of in Old Town Clovis that are having some difficulty due to costs with the details being required of them. 
  • Ashbeck thanked the commissioners and said that she would like to talk about the sphere of influence and also the historical preservation of the city, which may need a commission of its own. She also asked about saving the Carnegie Library building. 
    • “We’re all trying to hold onto what makes us Clovis and understanding that history is part of what makes us Clovis,” she said. 
  • Flores said they are an organically diverse group, but they all “kinda think alike and are in the same canoe…trying to do the right things for the city.” “We’ll make sure that the people that live beyond our borders understand who we are and what we want, we don’t want to exclude people, we just want everybody that lives within our city to have the same experience regardless of their state in life, if they’re young, old, poor or not…some people cannot afford to come here and we have to fix that. Sacramento isn’t doing that so it’s up to us to find solutions for that and I think we can do that.” 
    • He said he also participated in COG, but didn’t have much to report. 
  • Ashbeck also thanked Mouanoutoua for being so prepared and representing the city well at the Measure C meetings. “By far the most prepared, involved member on the steering committee,” she said. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:28 p.m. The next Clovis City Council meeting is April 11 and Clovis Planning Commission meeting is April 28.

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