Here’s what you need to know

  • The Clovis Planning Commission met on September 22, 2022 and approved all four items on the agenda, including an expansion from 6 to 12-beds for an existing care-facility; an expansion to a Derrell’s Mini Storage facility on Fowler Avenue; the introduction of a new convenience store with alcohol sales and a drive-thru; and incorporating VMT requirements into the General Plan circulation element. 
  • Today’s meeting stood out for its public participation: while Clovis local government meetings typically have low participation, more than a dozen residents came out to speak against proposed projects. Especially, a “convenience-grocery store hybrid” on Clovis and Dakota Avenues; with more than ten members of the public voicing their concerns and opposition to the project.

Follow-up questions

  • Despite public concerns, the commission voted to approve the Street Corner market project, recommending that residents make their concerns known to branches of the local government other than their own planning sect. Will such decision-making have an effect on the political behavior of (historically anti-bureaucratic) Clovis voters in upcoming elections?
  • How, if at all, will the city move to engage the public with the new VMT requirements made under item 4?

Conversation highlight

  • A lively discourse was held on the prospect of introducing a new kind of convenience store, Street Corner, to the Valley. Several residents spoke to confirm their concerns that this store, however innovative, will stir much of the same existing problems to the community that already exist at other convenience stores — namely, traffic hazards and the perceived threat of interacting with Clovis’s housing insecure population. In an attempt to differentiate their project from other convenience stores in Clovis, an advocate for the store shared the following:
    • “We’re here to be a community market;  not (just) a typical convenience store. We’re not trying to attract those kinds of customers; we’re trying to attract local residents where they can feel safe, wanted, and can take their kids, grandkids, and family members and not have to worry about all those things that are taking place at (other) surrounding businesses. We’re trying to present ourselves as the nice clean friendly spot in town that’s going to accommodate everyone.”


The following members were in attendance for  today’s meeting: 


  • Alma Antuna
  • Brandon Bedsted (ABSENT)
  • Mike Cunningham (Chair Pro-Tem)
  • Amy Hatcher 
  • Paul Hinkle (Chair)


  • Liz Salazar, Assistant Planner
  • Marissa Jensen, Assistant Planner,
  • Lily Cha, Senior Planner
  • Dave Merchen, City Planner

Actions/Discussions/Public comment

Clovis City Planning Commission — 9.22.2022

(agenda details here)

* Meeting began with roll call at 6:00 p.m. *

I.)   Call to order

II.)  Flag Salute

III.)  Roll Call

IV.)  Approval of Minutes

V.) Commission Secretary Comments

VI.) Planning Commission Member Comments

VII.) Public Comments

  • No public comments were given at this time.

VIII.) Public Hearings: (4 items overall)


a) Approved a request for a conditional use permit to allow an existing six bed congregate living health facility to add six beds for a total of twelve beds. The site is located at 2193 Alamos Avenue. 

Applicant: Vartan Jangozian

Owner: Marina Isounts

b) Recommendation: Approve

c) Presentation —–  Liz Salazar, Assistant Planner, offered the following information on the project: 

  • On the location: 
    • The residence is on the northwest corner of Alamos and Armstrong Avenues
    • +0.36 acres
    • Is primarily surrounded by residential uses
  • Project Operations: Old + Updates
    • The business is a residential home providing complete patient and medical supervision with 24-hour skilled nursing services
    • Existing services provided will remain the same — renovations will not change operations
    • Currently has two employees, but has proposed moving towards 3 to 4 employees per shift. Regardless, no employees will live on site
    • Visitations occur between 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Circulation and Parking:
    • The site may utilize two access points:
      • Alamos Avenue as a driveway to an attached two-car garage
      • Armstrong Avenue as a driveway to an attached one-car garage that will be converted to an office 
    • 2 parking spaces are required on site + 2 spaces will be provided within the existing two-car garage along Alamos Avenue.
      • Additional spaces are available for several vehicles in the existing driveways.

d) Questions/Comments from Staff:

  • No questions or comments at this time.

e) Client Presentation: representative for project design

  • An unnamed representative for the project’s design spoke favorably and excitedly about the project. Thanked the Council for considering this project and the applicant on their professional demeanor: “(the applicant) has done a really professional job on this project…”, as shown by the fact that while most projects like this take “years” to complete, the applicant has done this work within “two months”

f). Questions/Comments from Public:

  • No comments or questions posed at this time.

e) Vote:

  • After this discussion, the commission voted to approve this item 4-0.

a) What: Approved a conditional use permit to modify the project boundary of the existing storage facility at 750 N. Fowler Avenue. 

Owner: Norval L.P.

Applicant: Derrel’s Mini Storage, Inc.

Representative: Bill Robinson

b) Recommendation: Approve

c) Presentation:  Marissa Jensen, Assistant Planner, presented the following information on the project: 

  • On the location + history:
  • The project would update the existing Derrel’s Mini Storage facility located on the West side of N.Fowler Avenue, north of SR168
    • 17.68-acre site
  • 3 of 4 approved phases have been completed (today’s action would mark the 4th and final phase).
  • Area is surrounded chiefly by single family residential homes
  • Background:
    • CUP20003-019 was approved in December 2003 by Clovis City Council —-> Approval allowed for 4 phases of development
    • A retention basin was also approved at the time which is being modified today
  • CUP2003-019A:
    • Development of the approved fourth phase of the project has not occurred yet —> today’s agenda.
    • Development Details:
      • Expand the project boundary into an existing retention basin area
        • OA2001-04, allows for reduced setbacks.
      • Storage buildings will range b/n 1400 and 4900 sw ft
      • 2 additional storage buildings 
      • New buildings will be consistent with the existing building 
      • The building will be 11’4” in height
  • Ultimately, staff is recommending the commission approve today’s item with the proposed developments in mind.

e) Public Comments

  • Jennie Cantu, resident, spoke of their hesitancy with the project; especially with, as she puts it, that her and other neighbors were never properly consulted on this. Asked the following questions:
    • Given the “unkind” ways that Derrel’s Storage staff has approached community concerns with the basin before, will the modified basin actually be handled appropriately going forward? And, more importantly, will it flood on property? 
    • Will the expansion of the storage facility infringe on homeowners in the area?
    • Will these updates to the facility bring more updates to the neighborhood to address safety concerns like inadequate lighting and/or security? “That cul-de-sac is heavily occupied at night… and it’s not a good thing for our kids”,

d) Applicant response: Tim Robinson, the representative for this project, offered the following answers to the resident:

  • On the basin design: Robinson confirmed that they are, somewhat generously, working to fix this issue. Chiefly, “putting in a permanent pump (peak flow reducer)” will ideally prevent any floods by putting out runoff at a more consistent pace.
  • On the concerns of property: “We can’t take any property… there’s a chain link fence (between the property and the facility) that will remain in place…. We’re not going to take any property for any reason whatsoever… so we will cooperate (with neighbors on this).”
  • On the questions for cul-de-sac safety: “That cul-de-sac right now is a mess… so the entire culdesac will be completed with curb and gutter sidewalk, landscaping will be dressed up.” As the cul de sac is a “public street”, however, Robinson affirmed that it cannot be exclusively managed by Derrel’s Mini Storage.
  • Closed by refuting Cantu’s implication that the applicant did not adequately communicate with the neighbors on the development of this project:  “We sent your address a letter… we sent a letter to all the houses on this block (notifying you of the local meeting)… So other than coming over and knocking on her door…we thought we went out of our way to notify the residents that we were there and they could talk to us.”

e) Vote:

  • After this discussion, the commission voted to approve the item by a vote of 4-0.

a) What: Approved a conditional use permit for a street corner urban market gas station and convenience store with alcohol sales and a drive-thru on ± 1.06 acres of property located at 837 Dakota Avenue. 

Owner: JEAY Dakota, LLC,

Applicant/representative: Centerline Design, LLC

b) Recommendation: Approve

c) Presentation:  Senior Planner Lily Cha offered the following information on the project 

  • Project site
    • Location: NEC of Clovis & Dakota Avenues
    • Area: + 1.06 acres
    • General Plan Designation: Mixed Use Village & Focus Area 
    • Zoning: C-2 (Community Commercial)
  • Proposed project: Gas station with Convenience Market
    • Conditional Use Permit for Convenience Market + Service Station (Fuel Sales) + Alcohol Sales (Type 21 License) +Drive-thru
  • Business operations
    • Operation Hours 4:30 am to 12:00 am, 7-days a week
    • Merchandise :General foods & snacks; sandwiches, salads, pizzas; fresh produce; coffee; fountain drinks, beverages; Alcohol: Beer, wine, liquor
    • Belongs to a chain of convenience stores. Other locations in Glendale, Santa Clarita, San Diego,Concord, Pleasanton, National City, Oceanside, Hermosa Beach, La Jolla, Merced.
  • Ultimately: staff recommends that the planning commission approve the project. 

d) Questions/Comments from staff:

  • No questions or comments at this time.
  • The client spoke briefly to express favorability of the project, especially as “nothing like it” has ever been in the county before.

f). Questions/Comments from public:

  • Several residents from the surrounding neighborhood came out to voice discontent with the project; their concerns are as follows:
    • Rob Wyer, resident, spoke of the many aspects of “outraging” neighbors about this project. To Wyer, “one of the most dangerous areas in Clovis right now is the corner of Clovis Avenue with McDonald’s” at Ashlan Avenue, and it is made that way by convenience stores like Street Corner. In considering the increased scarcity of parking;  incentive for loitering and on-site drinking; and introduction of yet another store selling alcohol that Street Corner would bring, Wyer spoke in opposition to this item’s approval.
    • Bill Degrud, resident, said that, while, “the store looks great,” neighbors are rightfully concerned about the traffic concerns that this attraction will inevitably only exacerbate if introduced to the neighborhood. “I’ve seen cars accelerate through neighborhood three-way stops… speed through residential areas… bring industrial trucks in residential neighborhoods… With all of this new business, how are you going to control traffic in our neighborhood? We have kids!”
    • Rebecca Aschen, resident living “around 500 or so feet away from the proposed area”, voiced concerns about traffic pollution and, with the sale of liquor, individuals who will “loiter” or “become belligerent” near their neighborhood.
    • Arlene Lorta, resident, spoke to agree with the residents against Street Corner. Having another liquor store raised a particular alarm for Lorta, whose experiences with the McDonald’s on Clovis and Ashlan Avenues was “horrible because of the homeless people”. “We don’t need no more liquor stores and we don’t need any more traffic,” she said. “Something has got to be done!”.
    • Ernie Lorta, resident and spouse of the previous speaker, spoke to affirm these concerns by introducing Street Corner in their neighborhood. “Traffic is really bad on Dakota…. and police can hardly help anymore,” he said. He said that he has witnessed traffic growing worse, including allegedly having three to four cars crash onto their property, putting any more attractions near the neighborhood as it stands greatly concerns Lorta.
    • Mr. Ramirez, resident, named speeding cars and light pollution as their primary concerns with the project. As “convenience stores are notoriously busy to develop into new land”, Ramirez said that he worries a new convenience store will only worsen existing problems.
    • Clifford Osbourne, resident, also cited traffic concerns in their opposition. They argue that long waits to enter neighborhoods, car crashes, and parking scarcity will only get worse with the new project.
    • Richard (last name redacted), resident and “retired deputy sheriff ” spoke to affirm these concerns, adding the element of on-site drinking could be a real problem: “No one follows the rules when alcohol is involved… even with well-trained employees, drinking on the premises will happen.” He encourages the applicants to reconsider this element of their project.
  • Online comments:
    • Mike Johnson, resident, spoke against the project; citing that the applicant hasn’t adequately considered the impact on local residents. “How many kids killed by speeding drivers will it take to listen?”
    • Brett Sawyer, resident, says no to Street Corner market, citing traffic and perceived concerns with those experiencing housing insecurity: “I do not want the people who are homeless in my neighborhood. Everyone at the 7/11 will come to this gas station … Why are you encouraging them?”
    • Robert Wanns, resident, commented to agree with the concerns listed above.

g.) Applicant response:

  • Can understand the qualms as a resident. From a developer standpoint, however, believes the project either does not contribute to or actively improves the concerns the residents expressed. Including…
    • On concerns of smog: claims that the applicant has “already done their research”, and has found that their convenience store-drive thru hybrid “actually reduce vehicle miles” by providing increased access to produce.
    • On traffic and speeding: While “sympathetic” to the concern, argues that traffic will happen regardless of their proposed Street Corner market. “A lot of the concerns (are understandable), but these items we’ve presented are (still) a solution.”
    • One commissioner did interject at this point to suggest the need to address the issue of on-site drinking: If an “exact plan” for on-premises drinking has not been made, they encouraged the applicant to, “consider doing something else with your property”.
  • The representative offered the following to overcome concerns:
    •  “We’re here to be a community market… not a typical convenience store (but) something for everybody to be proud of”. While “surrounding facilities’ ‘ may attract a certain “type” of clientele, the applicant affirms that their business will stand out: “ Those areas attract those kinds of unwanted incidents that take place… we’re not trying to attract those kinds of customers. We’re trying to attract local residents where they can feel safe,  wanted, and can take their kids, grandkids, and family members; and not have to worry about all those things that are taking place at the surrounding businesses. We’re trying to present ourselves as the nice, clean, friendly spot in town that’s going to accommodate everyone. And that’s not what we’re trying to do — we are going to do it”.

h.) Commissioner discussion on these comments + vote: 

  • Commissioner Cunningham:
    • Thanked the residents who came out to speak today, while affirming that their comments are likely another department’s concern: “Most comments heard today pertained to traffic, which is not something that we are voting on today”. Encourages concerned residents to meet with city council or the police department for big-issues like traffic: “You are a resident… if you want to see change come talk to them!”
  • We want to be sure new businesses and residents thrive here
  • As Commissioner A wishes to see “new businesses and residents thrive” in Clovis, they argue approving the “hybrid grocery store-convenience store” would be best for everyone.” “This business is good for Clovis. I want to have something like this in my neighborhood!” 
  • Commissioner B spoke affirming many of Commissioner A’s sentiments: 
    • Thanked residents for coming out as well, though ultimately believes the project will overcome the stated concerns: “We [as commissioners] have difficult decisions at times, and to me this is not one of them… We try to do what’s right…. [but your] concerns are mostly under the purview of the county.”
    • Commissioner B continued saying, “this applicant is trying to do something new here … something I would like in my neighborhood, and could be good for yours too. I don’t think it will create the issues you think it will…. [So] it has my support tonight, and I hope you will give them the chance to prove themselves too.”
  • Commissioner C equally echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the role that the planning commission has on the residents’ concerns:
    • “I understand your concerns with homelessness… that area is not the greatest. [Still,] I think people forget why we’re up here. We’re not here to do policing, we are just here to do zoning….”
    • Even so, “I don’t think the issues you have raised will come to fruition… like Commissioner Cunnighgam mentioned, a lot of the issues you raised, you already had.” As Street Corner market would not be creating any new issues per se, then, Commissioner C thinks approval would be “a very good idea”.

i.) Vote:

  • After discussing, the commissioners voted to approve the item by a vote of 4-0

a) What: 

  • Consider items related to the incorporation of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) into the General Plan Circulation Element. City of Clovis, applicant. 
  1. Approved a request to certify a supplemental environmental impact report, adopt findings of fact, and adopt a mitigation monitoring and reporting program. 
  2. Approved amending the 2014 General Plan to incorporate policy changes to the Circulation Element to incorporate provisions related to the vehicle miles traveled traffic impact evaluation criterion.
  3. Approved adoption of the updated transportation impact analysis guidelines. 

b) Recommendation: Approve (see details in presentation)

c) Presentation: City Planner Dave Merchen offered the following presentation on the proposed resolutions:

  • History + Background of project:
    • Senate Bill 743 (SB 743) signed into law 2013  —> in effect since July 1, 2020. In essence, the bill changed the metric for transportation analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act; requiring that traffic impact analysis change from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
      • Instead of congestion and delay, analysis now looks at how many vehicle miles traveled a project generates
    • The city made a series of changes to adjust to this change in traffic impact analysis. Timeline of city adjustments is as follows:
      • March 2020 – City contracted with Kittelson & Associates to prepare VMT Implementation
      • July 20, 2020 – City adopted Interim Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) Guidelines
      • April 5, 2021 – City council initiated amendments to the General Plan Circulation Element to incorporate VMT policies and authorized preparation of a Supplemental EIR.
  • What we would be amending today:
    • Amends the Circulation Element of the General Plan to include VMT related goals and policies
    • Specifies that projects will comply with the City’s TIA Guidelines (including VMT) and provide appropriate MT mitigation
    • Promotes carpooling, exploring the feasibility of a VMT mitigation fee program, and partnering with local and regional agencies and stakeholders
    • Encourages improved connectivity through alternative modes of transportation
  • TIA Guideline
    • Guidelines outline criteria for “screening out”projects from VMT analysis, including…
      • Small projects 
      • Provision of affordable housing
      • Local-serving retail
      • Project located in a high-quality transit area
      • Project located in low VMT area
    • Guidelines establish thresholds for VM Impacts 
      • Residential: 13% below existing VMT per capita 
      • Office: 13% below existing VMT per employee
      • Retail: No net increase
      • Others: defined on case-by-case basis 
    • VMT mitigation framework provided
    • Criteria for local transportation analysis are included or General Plan compliance, but not a CEQA impact
  • Supplemental EIR
    • SEIR evaluates GPA and TIA guidelines 
    • Supplement to the 2014 General Plan EIR 
    • Draft SEIR public review June 29th thru August 15th
    • Public information – Q & A meeting held in July
    • Two comment letters provided – Caltrans & Flood
    • Comment letters and responses included in the final SEIR
    • SEI determined that VMT related impacts associated with implementation of the general plan would be potentially significant
    • Mitigation measures were identified to reduce VMT
    • VMT impacts would remain significant and unavoidable – even with mitigation
    • Approval of the project requires the adoption of a statement of overriding considerations (which should determine that the benefits of project will outweigh any environmental effects)
      • Significant and unavoidable impacts were anticipated 
    • Preparation and certification of the SEIR and adoption of overriding considerations helps streamline future project reviews
      • Future projects will be evaluated to see if they screen out
      • Projects that don’t screen out will perform a VMT analysis and mitigation measures will be applied
      • If those projects will generate significant and unavoidable impacts, they can tier off of the SEIR and avoid preparing a project-specific EIR
  • Recommendation: Adopt the proposed resolutions, including….
  1. Adopt a resolution recommending certification of the Supplemental EIR, with the findings of fact, statement of overriding considerations, and mitigation monitoring and reporting program
  2. Adopt a resolution recommending policy changes to the Circulation Element to incorporate VMT
  3. Adopt a resolution recommending the approval of updated transportation impact analysis guidelines

d) Questions/Comments from Staff:

  • No questions or comments at this time.

f). Questions/Comments from Public:

  • No comments or questions posed at this time.

e) Vote:

  • After this discussion, the commission voted to approve this item 4-0.

IX.) Adjournment:

  • The Clovis Planning Commission adjourned at 7:56 p.m. The meeting lasted approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes.

According to their website, meetings for the Clovis Planning Commission are held at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers, located on 1033 Fifth Street, Clovis, CA 93612; members of the public may attend in-person or online via livestream.

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