Fresno Unified School District plans to acquire 17.75 acres for its proposed Sunnyside High School Agricultural Education Center, which it will use to teach students and the broader community about agricultural career opportunities.

May 17, 2023 — Fresno County Planning Commission

Documented by Anthony Corda

What happened: The Fresno County Planning Commission moved forward Fresno Unified School District’s plans to acquire 17.75 acres for its proposed Sunnyside High School Agricultural Education Center on the southwest corner of Kings Canyon Road and South Minnewawa Avenue.

Jeremy Ward, the district’s assistant superintendent of College and Career Readiness, said the district plans to purchase the land for $2 million and will utilize the property to develop a plant and animal sciences program for students and the broader community to learn about agricultural career opportunities.

“We recognize that it is not insignificant that for the longest time, the Fresno Unified School District which represents the largest school district within the county of Fresno, third largest in the state of California, does not have a significant agricultural education program that sits within the most robust agricultural county in the United States of America,” he said.

Ward said the location in the “land-locked district” is ideal because of its proximity to Sunnyside High School, which currently has agricultural education teachers.

According to the staff report, state code requires a school district to obtain approval from the Planning Commission prior to acquiring property and that school sites are exempt from zoning code restrictions.

The commissioners found the land use to be in conformance with the general plan. The three parcels were zoned for limited agricultural and single-family residential and were designated as a community park and residential in the city of Fresno General Plan Land Use and Circulation Map.

And also: The commissioners unanimously approved a proposal for the construction, operation and decommissioning of a lithium-ion battery storage facility located on South McCall and East Jensen avenues.

It will connect to a nearby PG&E Sanger substation via overhead wires crossing McCall Avenue, according to the staff report.

After the meeting, Commissioner Lisa Woolf requested to rescind and change her vote from a yes to a no vote, but the request was denied by Chairperson Ken Abrahamian. 

Up next: The Fresno County Planning Commission will meet again on June 22.

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.

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...