Clovis officials approved the city's housing element progress report showing deficiencies in housing for low-income earners and heard from residents concerned about a "halfway house" in their neighborhood. Source: City of Clovis

March 20, 23 — Clovis City Council

Documented by Rachel Youdelman

What happened: At their Monday meeting, the Clovis City Council voted to accept the city’s 2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report (APR), including the Housing Element APR, which shows the city has met housing requirements for moderate- and above-moderate income levels, but has a remaining unfulfilled housing need of 2,314 for very-low income earners and 978 for low income.

City Planner Dave Merchen and Senior Planner Lily Cha presented the report and explained that the purpose of the APR is to show how land use decisions relate to the goals of the general plan, let both the public and local government know how the general plan is being implemented, and to identify adjustments or changes to the general plan.

The housing element must be updated every eight years; the general plan progress report (including the housing element APR) is required annually and is due April 1 to the state.

Cha said that the housing element APR documents the city’s progress in carrying out housing programs toward the 5th cycle (2015-2023) regional housing needs allocation (RHNA), which is 6,328 total. The total is made up of parts based on income category (very low income, 2,321; low income 1,145; moderate income 1,018; above moderate 1,844; total RHNA, 6,328) — the city is supposed to zone thus for housing.

Attorney Patience Milrod was present to speak. She represents Desiree Martinez, the plaintiff in the affordable-housing lawsuit which Clovis lost and is now appealing. Milrod said that Merchen and Cha’s presentation included a “material omission.”

The number of housing units by which Clovis is deficient in providing needs an asterisk, because it could change, depending on the outcome of the appeal. “I hope you are making a contingency plan,” she said.

Merchen said that the carry-over program had been accepted but that he would consult about the need for a footnote.

And also: The council and the planning commission also met jointly and received a presentation about the 6th cycle (2023-2031) housing element from Chelsey Payne of Ascent Environmental, Inc.

Clovis’ total RHNA for 2023-2031 is 8,977 and by income level, a total of 4,475 housing units were needed for the 2023-2031 RHNA, said Payne, about a 30% increase over the previous RHNA.

The draft is available for review by the public through April 12 and the deadline for submission of this version of the housing element is Dec. 31, 2023, Payne said.

Public comment: A group of speakers, beginning with Dr. Nathan Inan, complained about what they called a “halfway house” in their neighborhood and gave conflicting bits of information about its occupants and whether they suffered from mental illness or are formerly incarcerated individuals.

Inan said he received a knock on his door at 1 a.m., to which he got his gun out and called police who told him that the man was from a halfway house behind his home. He said the man was a sex offender and asked whether neighbors should have been notified and questioned the home’s management.

Six more residents of the same neighborhood voiced similar complaints, one saying that a police officer told him that “you got 20 schizophrenics living there,” and when asked what could be done about it, the officer said, “I don’t f—— know.” The resident said he wanted to sell his house.

Mayor Lynne Ashbeck said she saw the comments on this issue escalate on the Nextdoor app and discussed holding a community meeting about it on Wednesday. She said they received several letters regarding the house, as well as backyard chickens

“We want to help you solve the problem with the tools we have; we’ll lay it out factually,” she noted.

Up next: The Clovis City Council will meet again on April 3.

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