Here’s what you need to know:
- The Planning Commission (6-0) adopted the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan, which covers approximately 7,077 acres in the Development Area-1 West Development Area.
- In public comment, Gurdeep Singh Shergill lauded the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan as “finally correcting” the history of redlining in Fresno.
- The Planning Commission (7-0) adopted General Plan Text Amendments relating to mixed-use development.
- Ivanka Saunders from Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability is concerned that the ministerial approval in the text amendments will circumvent public input.
The Planning Commission takes action on various planning issues. The Commission meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month (unless otherwise noted) at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 2600 Fresno Street, 2nd floor.
Meetings are open to the public and also air on television. For air times, visit http://cmac.tv. For additional information, call (559) 621-8277.
Fresno City Planning Commissioners present:
- Chairperson Peter Vang
- Vice-Chair Brad Hardie
- Commissioner David Criner
- Commissioner Haley W. Wagner
- Commissioner Kathy Bray
- Commissioner Monica Diaz
- Commissioner Robert Fuentes
Fresno City Planning Commissioners not present:
- Commissioner David Criner
- Director of Planning and Development Jennifer K. Clark
- Long-Range Planner Casey Lauderdale
- Long Range Planning Manager Sophia Pagoulatos
- Gurdeep Singh Shergill
- District 2 Steering Committee member Cathy Caples
- Linda Fisher
- Jeffrey Roberts from Assemi Group
- Ivanka Saunders from Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
- Bonique Emerson from Precision Civil Engineering
The Planning Commission (7-0) approved and adopted the following items in the consent agenda.
V-A ID 22-1172 (Continued From July 6, 2022) Consideration of Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 6410; and related Environmental Assessment No. T-6410 for approximately 11.23 acres of property located on the northside of East Church Avenue, east of South Peach Avenue (Council District 5).
1. Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for Environmental Assessment No. P22-00958/T-6410 dated May 20, 2022, for the proposed project under California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines.
2. Planned Development Permit Application No. P22-00958 proposes allowing for a density transfer and the entirety of the proposed subdivision to be developed consistently to the RS-5 zone district development standards.
3. Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 6410, proposing to subdivide approximately 11.23 acres of the subject property into a 73-lot single-family residential development subject to compliance with the Conditions of Approval dated July 20, 2022.
V-B ID 22-1149 Consideration of Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 6371 and related Environmental Assessment No. T-6371, for property located on East Floradora between North Armstrong and North Temperance Avenues (Council District 7).
1. Environmental Assessment No. T-6371, dated July 20, 2022, an Addendum to Environmental Assessment No. P19-00801/P19-00843/P19-00846/T-6201/T-6235, under Section 15164 of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines.
2. Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. T-6371 proposes to subdivide the approximate 4.18 net acres property into a 27-lot single-family residential development, subject to compliance with the Conditions of Approval dated July 20, 2022, and the related environmental assessment.
New matters consist of:
VIII-A ID 22-1129 Public hearing to consider the adoption of the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan and related Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), State Clearinghouse (SCH No. 2019069117). Commissioner Hardie recused himself. The following applications have been filed by the Fresno City Council and pertain to approximately 7,077 acres in the Development Area-1 West Development Area:
1. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of the findings outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR SCH No. 2019069117).
- The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended adoption (to the City Council) of an appropriate Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) as required by Public Resources Code Section 21081.6 and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Section 15097; and,
- The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended adoption (to the City Council) of findings based upon staff testimony that significant, unavoidable environmental impacts have not been mitigated to a level below significant.
Therefore, the City Council should adopt the findings of fact and consider an appropriate statement of overriding considerations.
2. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of Plan Amendment Application P22-01351, which proposes to repeal the West Area Community Plan, about approximately 12,341 acres located in the Development Area-1 West Development Area and the portion of the Highway City Neighborhood Specific Plan that overlaps the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan Boundary, approximately 455 acres.
3. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of Plan Amendment Application P22-01352, which proposes to adopt the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan and accompanying Planned Land Use Map
4. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of Plan Amendment Application P22-01353, which proposes to update the Planned Land Use Map of the Fresno General Plan to incorporate the land use changes proposed in the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan
5. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of Rezone Application P22-01353, which proposes re-zone approximately 1,172 acres of property within the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan area to be consistent with the planned land uses proposed in the Plan.
6. The Planning Commission (6-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of staff-recommended Land Use Change Requests for a follow-up amendment to the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan to include land use change requests and an updated dual land use map.
The West Area covers Districts 1, 2, and 3. From 1998 until now, the West Area Community Plan has undergone drafts, consultations, and revisions.
Outreach has involved email, direct mail, flyers, tabling events, social media, radio, legal notices, and committee presentations.
On engagement, the staff has organized 17 Steering Committee meetings, 12 community workshops, 13 committee presentations, and three surveys.
The plan area is West Fresno. The guiding principles are transportation, parks and trails, agriculture, retail, housing, catalytic corridors, education, and public safety.
They envisage land use to have a moderate level of change, urban to rural transition, and catalytic corridors.
Catalytic corridors include Ashlan, Brawley, Clinton, Shaw, Shields Avenues, and Veterans Boulevard.
Staff prepared a program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on June 28, 2019, and held a public scoping meeting on July 24, 2019.
They circulated the draft EIR from February 10 to March 28, 2022, which received nine comments.
The staff released the Final EIR on July 8, 2022. Impact areas ranged from air quality to public services.
The city released the public draft of the plan on April 30, 2021, based on feedback during outreach activities and Steering Committee meetings.
From April 30 to September 1, 2021, the comment period has resulted in 31 letters, 155 discrete comments and requests, and 19 land use change requests.
The staff released the revised public draft on April 25, 2022, incorporating 70 changes to the narrative, aesthetics, goals, and policies presented in the Steering Committee. Next, they sent the draft to the District Project Review Committees.
On July 7, 2022, the Planning Commission Draft was released, incorporating six changes to the narrative, goals, and policies.
From April to May 2022, District Project Review Committees from Districts 1, 2, and 3 voted to recommend the plan’s approval.
Staff maintained that the plan was consistent with the General Plan goals, policies, and the Development Code.
The adoption of the plan would impact dwelling unit capacities.
Adoption of the Plan would impact dwelling unit capacities on Housing Element sites as follows:
- 0-12 dwelling units per acre: net loss of 53 units of capacity
- 12-16 dwelling units per acre: net gain of 1,625 units of capacity
- 16-30 dwelling units per acre: net loss of 5,119 units of capacity
However, the remaining sites identified in the Housing Element are adequate to accommodate the jurisdiction’s share of the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA).
Adopting the Plan would result in losing the capacity for 12,253 housing units.
Staff proposes concurrent consideration of P22-02413 (Mixed Use Text Amendment) to provide an additional capacity of 21,762 housing units.
Concurrent adoption of the Plan and Text Amendment will ensure no net loss of housing capacity, and the Plan will comply with SB 330.
In public comment, Gurdeep Singh Shergill lauded the West Area Neighborhoods Specific Plan as “finally correcting” the history of redlining in Fresno.
He urged the City to support roadways and parks and maintain the landscape.
Linda Fisher and Steering Committee member from District 2 Cathy Caples supported the plan.
Jeffrey Roberts from Assemi Group urged the Commission to address agricultural mitigation issues through a text amendment.
Ivanka Saunders from Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability sought the Committee to closely monitor the plan’s implementation.
Bonique Emerson from Precision Civil Engineering urged the Committee to retain the Residential Mixed Use (RMX) district on the West Side and Commercial Mixed Use (CMX) district on the east side.
Long-Range Planner Casey Lauderdale clarified that an implementation committee would monitor the plan, and an infrastructure financing plan will be finished by the end of the year.
VIII-B ID 22-1176 Consideration of Development Code Text Amendment Application No. P22-02413 and related Environmental Finding for Environmental Assessment No. P22-02413, amending Tables 15-1102, 15-1103, 15-1202, 15-1203, 15-4907, and Section 15-1104 of the Fresno Municipal Code and adding Sections 15-1106 and 15-510-E to the Fresno Municipal Code, and corresponding General Plan Text Amendment relating to mixed-use development:
1. The Planning Commission (7-0) recommended adopting (to the City Council) a finding outlined in Environmental Assessment No. P22-02413 dated July 6, 2022, of a Mitigated Negative Declaration under CEQA Guidelines Section 15168(d)
2. The Planning Commission (7-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of Development Code Text Amendment Application No. P22-02413, amending Tables 15-1102, 15-1103, 15-1202, 15-1203, 15-4907, and Section 15-1104 of the Fresno Municipal Code and adding Sections 15-1106 and 15-510-E to the Fresno Municipal Code, relating to mixed-use development
3. The Planning Commission (7-0) recommended approval (to the City Council) of General Plan Text Amendment Application No. P22-02413 amending Chapter 3, the Urban Form, Land Use, and Design
Element, Table 3-1, and pages 3-41 and 3-42 are consistent with the Development Code Text Amendment described above.
Mixed-use development is a development of a parcel or building with two or more different land uses, such as a combination of residential, office, retail, public, or entertainment in a single or physically integrated group of structures.
These are typically ground-floor commercial with residential upper floors.
Examples are Iron Bird Lofts in Divisadero/Fulton and Cityview in Van Ness/Inyo.
Infills are development on vacant land within City limits, wherein roads, sewer, and water are available. The General Plan calls for roughly half of all new development to be infilled.
Proposed changes to zoning are as follows:
- Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMX): 12 units per acre and a height of 40 ft
- Corridor/Center Mixed Use (CMX): 16 units per acre and height of 60 ft
- Regional Mixed Use (RMX): 30 units per acre and height of 75 units
- Along the ground floor, uses are required within 200 ft of an intersection of 2 or more major streets
- Ministerial approval is allowed if standards are met.
Ministerial requirements are required for zoned NMX, CMX, RMX, Commercial Regional (CR), or Commercial Main Street (CMS).
The requirements are within the Priority Areas for Development Incentives and must provide adequate infrastructure and specify no historical resources.
Public utility requirements are as follows:
- Sewer: meet capacity thresholds
- Storm Drainage: provide adequate facilities
- Water: meet demand and fire flow standards
Projects with more than 200 units near a school must provide bike and pedestrian improvements and comply with the Complete Streets Policy.
Projects on High-Quality Transit Corridors with Level of Service E or F must install transit design treatments.
The staff has prepared a mitigated negative declaration on the 21,762 dwelling units and a public comment from July 6 to August 4, 2022.
In July 2022, the decision of the Project Review Committees is as follows:
- District 1 recommended the approval of density and commercial provisions and denial of ministerial provision
- District 2 recommended the approval of the changes
- District 3 recommended the approval of density provisions with an added recommendation to increase the minimum density by 10 percent, approval of the commercial provisions, and denial of ministerial provision.
- District 5 recommended the approval of density and commercial provisions and denying ministerial provisions.
- District 6 recommended the approval of the changes.
In July 2022, the Design Review Committees in Lowell and Tower also recommended approving the changes.
On July 18, 2022, Staff organized a webinar attended by 25 residents centered on the affordability, impact on southeast and southwest communities, concern about adequate infrastructure, and suggestions to reduce parking requirements.
On August 1, 2022, the Airport Land Use Commission will discuss the item.
Section 5102-E-6-d amended to read:
Housing projects that meet the following criteria shall require a Zone Clearance.
- Located within an NMX, CMX, RMX, CMS, or CR District
- Located with the City’s Priority Areas for Development (areas identified in Figure IM-1 in the Fresno General Plan)
- No historic resources or potentially historic resources are located on the site
- Can provide adequate City services to serve the site under all relevant standards required under applicable environmental assessments prepared under CEQA and standards listed below (from Section 15-1106 of this Code).
- Complies with all applicable requirements of the Fresno County Land Use Compatibility Plan.
Ivanka Saunders from Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability stated that the ministerial approval has “unintended consequences” in areas with an oversaturation of rental properties and not enough zoned use for single-family housing, which is needed for generational wealth and stability.
She states a “chipping away” of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan by:
- Changing single-family housing zones to industrial for the Busseto Project on W Church Avenue
- Rezoning single-family housing on Church Avenue near Elm to market rate three-story apartments.
- Changing 92-acre Mixed Use to Light Industrial Zoning.
She is concerned that the ministerial approval in the text amendments would circumvent public input.
Long Range Planning Manager Sophia Pagoulatos said that public input would be heard.
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers 2600 Fresno Street.
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