The Terry Bradley Educational Center, outside of southeast Fresno, is the latest growth area for Clovis Unified School District. Credit: Heather Halsey Martinez / Fresnoland

March 23, 2023 — Fresno County Planning Commission

Documented by Hugo Galindo

What happened: In a split 3-3 vote, the Fresno County Planning Commission denied a request from the Clovis Unified School District to allow a 15-acre portion of land zoned for agriculture to be used as a support infrastructure site for its new Terry Bradley Educational Center.

The district plans to acquire the land from an existing 31.46-acre parcel for the construction of support infrastructure, which would include wastewater treatment, domestic water well, and solar for the new school complex.

The proposed site is located on the east side of North Highland Avenue, just south of East Shields Avenue. It is a half mile from the nearest city limits of Clovis, and within the sphere of influence of, and approximately 1½ -miles east of the nearest city limits of Fresno.

Granville Homes Entitlement Manager Drew Phelps spoke against the item, saying that the company has interest in the property as future property owners. He said “the school district is accelerating prematurely” and they are “concerned this will take ag land out of production.”

Although county staff found the proposal to be consistent with the general plan, Commissioners John Arabian, Ken Abrahamian, and Kuldip Chatha voted against the item. Commissioners Glenda Hill, Blake Zante, and Esther Carver voted in favor of affirming that the proposal is consistent with the general plan.

“Not all schools have wastewater management or solar. They have the school set already established, and they want to take prime ag land,” Abrahamian said. “I have trouble making the finding of consistency, so I won’t be supporting the motion.”

And also: The commissioners approved a new White Pine Renewables solar facility on a 40-acre parcel within the agricultural zone on South Fairfax Avenue between West Panoche and West South avenues.

Evan Riley, CEO of White Pine Renewables, said the facility will be operated by local union labor and sales will bring revenue to the area.

Up next: The Fresno County Planning Commission will meet again April 13.

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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...