March 23, 2023 — Fresno County Planning Commission

Documented by Hugo Galindo

Here’s what you need to know

  • White Pine Renewables has put forth a proposal to allow for a new solar facility, operated by local union labor.
  • Prior to today’s meeting, Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) approached the Commission with a request  to acquire an approximately 15-acre portion of land from an existing 31.46-acre parcel, for the construction of support infrastructure. The commission reviewed this proposal in item 5, requiring confirmation that the District’s proposal was consistent with the city’s general plan.
  • A noted disorientation surrounded the district’s compatibility with the general plan. Being unable to discern exact consequences the acquisition would have on CUSD and/or Granville Homes, the commission split their vote and, consequently, did not approve the measure. 

Follow-up questions

  • In regards to ultimate denial of the proposal, how will CUSD ensure that their future proposals remain consistent with the general plan?
  • The property CUSD is looking to annex is held in escrow by Granville Homes. How will either party move forward?

Conversation highlight

  • “Not all schools have wastewater management or solar. They have the school set already established, and they want to take prime ag land … the applicant is not present to answer some questions I had… I have trouble making the finding of consistency, so I won’t be supporting the motion,” — Chairman Ken Abrahamian

Call to order:

Today’s meeting of the Fresno County Planning Commission was called to order at 8:45 am. 

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

  • Present
    • Chairman Ken Abrahamian
    • Vice Chair Glenda HIll
    • Esther Carver
    • Kuldip Chatha
    • John Arabian
    • Blanke Zante
  • Absent
    • Lisa Woolf
    • Austin Ewell

Public Presentations


Item 2: Unclassified Conditional Use Permit Application No. 3742 & Initial Study No. 8230 filed by CES Electron Farm One

  • Proposal to allow the installation of a new solar facility with related equipment on a 40-acre parcel within AE-20 (Exclusive Agricultural, 20-acre minimum parcel size) Zone District. The subject parcel is located on the west side of South Fairfax Avenue between West Panoche Avenue and West South Ave.
  • As the proposal remains consistent with the general plan, no adverse effects on the community were identified. 
  • “We are looking forward to adding this project to our community… sales will bring revenue to the area.” Evan Riley, CEO of White Pine Renewables
    • Commission votes to approve item with a vote of 6:0.

Item 3: Variance Application No. 4076 & Initial Study No. 7677 filed by Kerry Gerdts.

  • Proposal to allow creation of substandard 3.56-acre parcel and a 23.95-acre parcel from an existing 27.51-acre parcel that is dual zoned AL-20 and R-C-40 (Resource Conservation, 40-acre minimum parcel size). The subject parcel is located on the south side of Rainbow Avenue, approximately 1.37 miles northeast of the nearest city intersection with Riverbend Avenue and is approximately 1.37 miles northwest of the nearest city limits of the City of Sanger.
    • This item was pulled by the staff citing further analysis before consideration. No further action taken by commission.

Item 4: 

** Canceled: ** Commission will not review item today.

Item 5: General Plan Conformity — Clovis Unified School District Proposed Terry Bradley Education Center Support Infrastructure Site filed by Clovis Unified School District

  • Proposal to acquire an approximately 15-acre portion of land from an existing 31.46-acre parcel, for the construction of support infrastructure, with related facilities including wastewater treatment, domestic water well, and solar for a proposed new education center site (to be located westerly adjacent), in the AE-20 Zone District. The proposed site is located on the east side of N. Highland Avenue approximately 740 feet south of its intersection with E. Shields Avenue, approximately a ½ 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.
  • There was some confusion regarding exactly what CUSD was seeking, but ultimately the representative confirmed that the district wanted confirmation that their proposal is consistent with the general plan. 
  • Drew Phelps of Granville Homes added, “To your point, Abrahamian, we do have interest in this property in question… as future property owners, we have requested Clovis Unified inform us of any hearings, and they failed to do so… the school district is accelerating prematurely… we’re concerned this will take ag land out of production.”
  • Chatha concluded  “It won’t even matter if we say it’s consistent or not.”
  • The staff has determined that the proposal is consistent with the general plan, but are not recommending one action over another.
  • A roll call vote is called. Votes in support consist of:
    • Hill
    • Zante
    • Carver
  • Votes to opposition
    • Arabian
    • Chatha
    • Abrahamian
  • After discussion and lack of consensus in roll call, the commission did not vote to approve the item.

Item 6: Information/Discussion Item

  • Commission offers no new information to discuss.


The Fresno County Planning Commission adjourned from the public to convene for closed session at 9:50 a.m. The commission will meet next on Thursday, April 13. For more details on location, times and future agendas, see the Fresno County Planning Commission’s website.

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