Notetaking by Alejandra Obregon
Here’s what you need to know
- The Fresno County Planning Commission met on Nov. 17, 2022 and approved the Cold Spring Granite Company proposal to allow continued surface mining operations of granite quarry and facilities approved by CUP No. 2928 for an additional 50 years to Jan. 18, 2071. The site is approximately 142 acres located on Tollhouse and Newmark Roads, 10 miles northeast of the City of Clovis.
- The commission approved a continuance to a date uncertain for a variance application filed by Bill Bogdanov, which proposed to allow the creation of three parcels on the same property just outside the City of Reedley.
- Lastly, the commissioners approved allowing a prayer chapel for the Greek Orthodox Monastery on Dunlap Road.
- What are the impacts on the environment when mining operations of granite?
- What are the next steps for the homeowners who were motioning to a continuance to a date uncertain?
According to the Fresno County website, the planning commission has jurisdiction, powers, and duties to do all things related to local and area planning as may be conferred to it by the Government Code or delegated to it by the board of supervisors. The commission’s duties include considering and approving applications for land subdivisions, variances, and conditional use permits and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on issues concerning zoning and the county’s general plan.
On Thursday, October 13, 2022, the planning commission held their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:45 a.m. at the Board of Supervisors Chambers in Fresno County Hall of Records, 3rd Floor, 2281 Tulare Street in Fresno. The agenda is provided along with the staff reports/presentation.
Glenda Hill, Vice Chair, At large
Esther Carver, District 3 Commissioner
John Arabian, District 5 Commissioner
Lisa Woolf, At large Commissioner
Blake Zante, At large Commissioner
Ken Abrahamian, Chairperson, District 1
No consent items for this hearing
Item 2 – Unclassified conditional use permit application NO. 3581 and initial study NO. 7878 filled by Cold Spring Granite Company which would allow continued surface mining operations (granite quarry) and facilities approved by CUP No. 2928 for an additional 50 years to January 18, 2071, on two contiguous parcels totaling 142 acres in the AL-40 (Limited Agricultural, 40-acre minimum parcel size) Zone District.
- The location of the site is the southeast side of Tollhouse Road and its intersection with Newmark Road approximately 10 miles northeast of the City of Clovis (APN: 150-141-33 & 35) (14147 Tollhouse Road) (Sup. Dist. 1).
- Ejaz Ahmad, a planner, explained the historic mining activities that have occurred on the project site. The site has been a mining project since 1964.
- Steve Konop, the general quarry manager of Cold Spring Granite Company represented on behalf of the company. He presents the values of the company and the overall integrity of the business. Cold Spring Granite company operates 22 different query sites around the country. He continues to explain that they are asking for a 50-year extension to continue to mine the property site.
- Commissioner Woolf said, “I am curious how you find the granite and how deep the mine goes.”
- Konop said, “ The location has to be a solid site and have to yield as high as the quality of the stone. This parcel is a clear black and stone deposit. Black is a solid deposit and a dimensional stone quarry. Panel Alexander is the company owner and would travel to a destination and talk to various geologists and actively look for sites.”
- Staff was concerned about blasting on the site.
- Konop said, “since it is a boulder quarry and they do a lot more sign versus drilling and blasting. With current technology, we don’t have to blast as often.”
- Konop continues to describe that if the business comes to a point where the yield gets smaller than they would have to relocate, but the current quarry they cut is 70,000 a year. He says they will be able to continue on that site for 50 years.
Motion to approve – unanimously
Item 3 – Canceled according to the agenda.
Item 4 – Variance Application NO. 4130 filed by Bill Bogdanov proposing to allow the creation of three parcels: a 2.8-acre parcel, a 1-acre parcel, and a 1-acre from an existing 4.8-acre parcel within the AE-20 (Exclusive Agricultural, 20-acre minimum parcel size) Zone District. The subject parcel is located on the north side of E. Huntsman Ave., approximately 630 feet west of S. Englehart Ave., the parcel is approximately 0.33-miles
- One of the main concerns within the staff is the 4.8-acre size and the belief that the applicants want to create various homes. The staff’s main concern is the subdividing of adding three homes on the same property.
- Applications were filled by Bill Bogdanov representing the owner George Sawatzky. Bogdanov presents the reasoning why the owners want to add three parcels to the property. He gives context about the owners buying the property and building the home from the ground up.
- Commissioner Woolfe asked if they have evidence of their neighbors approving the proposal of the three parcels.
- Bill Bogdanov said that George Sawatzky has spoken to them, but he did not receive a letter back from his neighbors.
- George Sawatzky explains, “There’s no agriculture on the back of us and the west of the parcel. We have the original home on the property and there has been no agriculture as long as we’ve been there. My wife and I bought the property 45 years ago and I built the home. The land has served as well. ”
- Sawatzky said, “This home and land is part of my legacy”.
- He says the property has become a family property and that is why they would like to add several homes to serve his family.
- Commissioner Wolfe asked, “Have you talked to your neighbors?”
- Sawatzky said, “ the neighbors from the east of the property said that there was concern about the well. I thought that I read in the finding the septic that the water would not create a big impact. She was also concerned about the donkeys in the back and how the traffic in the back would create dust. The neighbor in the back of the property was concerned by the secluded privacy and since then I had another conversation with him. He said, ‘well at least we will have great neighbors.’”
- Commissioner Woolf said she had concerns that the project is creating more congestion for the secluded area. She believes it puts the neighbor in a difficult spot. She wished that they would have brought proof of a letter from the neighbors or even showed up to support his case. The board members do collectively agree with Commissioner Woolfe’s points. Staff agrees that the project is inconsistent and expensive. They prefer the parcels to be divided into two instead of three.
- The commissioners’ greatest concern is why can’t the owner put two parcels instead of three. They gave the owners an alternative motion made to move to approve Variance Application No. 4130, subject to the Conditions of Approval and Project Notes.
Motion to a continue the item to a date uncertain
Item 5 – Director review and approval NO. 4706 filed by Robin Goldbeck proposing to amend previously approved Director Review and Approval No. 3070 to allow a prayer chapel for the existing monastery. The project is located on a 60.91-acre parcel in the AE-160 (Exclusive Agriculture, 160-acre minimum parcel size) Zone District.
- It is located at 38576 Dunlap Rd.
- Ricky Lan is speaking on behalf of the proposal for item 5. The application proposes the construction of a prayer chapel for the Greek Orthodox monastery. There is no opposition from surrounding areas.
- “They display the iconography and decorate the chapel for their service. There’s nothing commercial that is going to be built. This is the work of the nuns, and they have a place where it is not open to the public. They have gated this chapel via trail. Low impact and part of the original DRA.”
- Commissioner Woolf said, “It looks like a beautiful design.”
Motion to approve the application as recommended by staff
Item 6 – Information/discussion item: Report from staff on prior agenda Items, the status of upcoming agenda, and miscellaneous matters.
- Contact person, David Randall (559) 600-4052, email: email@example.com.
The meeting adjourned at 10:23 a.m.
If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Correction Request” in the subject line.