Here’s what you need to know:
- The Clovis Planning Commission moved forward a site plan review for a new 2,500 square-foot visitor center at the Clovis Botanical Garden near Clovis and Alluvial Avenues. The building was designed by Arthur Dyson to mimic butterfly wings and will be used for meetings, lectures and a gift shop.
- The commissioners also approved a general plan amendment redesignating 2.51 acres near Clovis Avenue and Highway 168 from the industrial to office classification. The site was inadvertently changed from office to industrial in the 2014 General Plan, despite earlier site-specific approvals which had established the office designation to the site.
The meeting (in full)
The Clovis Planning Commission meeting took place on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. The Planning Commission consists of five Clovis residents appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council. They meet monthly to make decisions and recommendations on city planning issues and review proposals for compliance with the General Plan, in order to make recommendations to the City Council.
Paul Hinkle, Chair (also real estate agent with Kellner Properties)
Mike Cunningham, Chair Pro Tem
The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda states that Webex participation continues to be available.
The meeting opened quickly with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chair Hinkle and Commissioner Bedsted were absent, all other commissioners were in council chambers. Cunningham led the meeting in Hinkle’s absence.
Commission Secretary David Merchen comments:
- Kelsey George is leaving the City of Clovis Planning Department.
Hinkle opened the meeting for commissioner comments:
- No comments were made.
No public comments were made.
- Approved minutes from the March 24 meeting.
- Approved a site plan review for the construction of a new approximately 2,500-square-foot visitor center for the Clovis Botanical Garden located at 945 N. Clovis Ave.
- Associate Planner Lily Cha presented the item.
- The property is zoned for a park and open space.
- Clovis Botanical Garden was approved in 2001 and opened to the public in 2004.
- In 2011, the city council approved expansion of the garden.
- The site plan includes a 2,500 square-foot visitor center and the relocation of the entry gate and a new concrete walkway.
- The building was designed by Arthur Dyson and it will be made up of glass, metal and concrete.
- Parking issue must be addressed. It will require 39 additional parking stalls to meet the one space per 5,000 square-feet of active area.
- The applicant is asking for a deferral of the parking requirement to allow time to work with staff.
- Staff amended the conditions of approval to allow for one year from the date of occupancy of the new building to provide parking approval.
- Cunningham said that he lives in that general area and noticed that parking is already impacted on weekends at the park.
- “I don’t see it getting less crowded,” he said.
- Kroll, former Clovis Director of Planning and Development and Clovis Botanical Garden representative, said that he appreciates working with the staff and he was contacted by the Botanical Gardens saying that they received a large donation for the building.
- He said Pat Winn, Anne Clemons, Andrea Reed, Art Dyson, Carol were all in council chambers.
- He said there was a site plan review done in 2001 allowing for a 9,000 square-foot building.
- The building will include a lecture/conference room and gift shop area.
- The botanical gardens mission is to highlight appropriate plant species that could be grown in the community in a “water-wise” environment.
- He said they know the parking issue does need to be addressed, but there is a bus pull through and a pedestrian trail that provides access without parking.
- Antuna asked if they were asking to have less parking stalls.
- Kroll said that they would like to have more discussions with staff because the former site plan and equation was designed more for a park and not a botanical garden.
- He said the critical issue is that there is a donor out there and there is a tipping point where they won’t be able to build it if the cost is too high.
- Anne Clemons, president of Clovis Botanical Garden, has been volunteering since 2005.
- She said that when it is cold or hot, it is hard to have groups at the garden and the building would allow for that.
- She said it would increase the quality of programs and education that they can provide.
- She said that they don’t envision the visitor center and building would be rented at the same time.
- She said the volunteers park at the north side, which is usually used for maintenance, but it is hard to see what traffic is coming when exiting.
- She said when they have plant sales, they usually rent the shade structures in the park so they don’t have additional people there using the parking spots.
- She said the building mimics butterfly wings and they recently planted a butterfly milkweed garden.
- Cunningham asked how often plant sales occur.
- Clemons said it was twice per year.
- Clemons also said that a local philanthropist donated $1 million and they already had $400,000, but they’ll need to keep raising money with inflation and if they have to put in parking.
- She said the meeting would also be available for neighborhood meetings.
- All commissioners approved.
- Associate Planner Lily Cha presented the item.
- Approved a request to amend the General Plan to redesignate approximately 2.51 acres from the Industrial classification to the Office classification for property located on the west side of N. Clovis Avenue, immediately north of Highway 168.
- According to the agenda, “the 2014 General Plan redesignated the site from Office to Industrial, despite earlier site-specific approvals which had established the office designation to the site.”
- Merchen presented the item.
- All commissioners approved with no questions or discussion.
The meeting adjourned at 6:42 p.m. Future Planning Commission meetings are scheduled on May 26, June 23 and July 28 2022.
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