Why it matters:

While state law only requires a 10-day noticing period, the Clovis City Council's vote to mail notices seven days earlier is a step that could spur more public engagement on potential developments and better government transparency.

Documented by Rachel Youdelman

The Clovis City Council approved a change from a 10- to a 17-day public-notice procedure for mailing public hearing notices at its Dec. 19, 2022 meeting.

What happened: The newly reorganized Clovis City Council met on Dec. 19, 2022 and approved a change from a 10- to a 17-day public-notice procedure for mailing public hearing notices to nearby residents about proposed real-estate development projects.

The change was spurred by recent complaints from residents of a proposed development in the Big Dry Creek area, who said they received meeting notices the day before the meeting, as well as similar complaints the city has received in the past.

Though the vote was unanimous in favor, Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua asked if “the industry” had been notified of the proposed change and that he would prefer to stick to the 10-day noticing period. “It’s the duty of citizens to be engaged,” he said citing concerns that even with a 17-day notice, residents would complain that they didn’t receive notice.

While Councilmember Drew Bessinger said that he’d rather have the 17-day notification requirement than “disaffected citizens” and that it would “strengthen transparency in government.”

City Planner Dave Merchen said that state law requires both a published and a mailed notice at least 10 days in advance. Notices will continue to be published according to the 10-day procedure, but notices will now be mailed to residents within a certain radius of proposed projects at least 17 days before a hearing date.

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...