July 11, 2023 — Lindsay City Council

Documented by Esteban Solis Loya

Here’s what you need to know

  • Council member Ramona Caudillo, whose request for an absence until October 2023, was denied, will need to attend the next two consecutive council meetings or her seat will become vacant.
  • Lindsay is positioning itself to study the feasibility of reintroducing mixed-use rezoning around the downtown area. This is part of a larger downtown revitalization discussion previously requested by Mayor Hipolito Angel Cerros.
  • Elevate Lindsay, Lindsay’s upcoming second dispensary will now be built out in two phases. Phase One will be amended to be completed within six months of the date of issuance of receiving a building permit. Phase Two will be amended to be completed with a hard deadline of Dec. 1, 2024. The council has also directed the Planning Department to prepare plans for opening bids to another cannabis operator should Elevate Lindsay not meet the deadline.

The Scene

The Lindsay City Council meeting was held on July 11, 2023. The meeting began at 6:05 p.m. and was adjourned at 8:05 p.m for a closed session. The meeting was made available to the public to live stream and to provide public comments via Zoom

Follow-up questions

  • If Elevate Lindsay doesn’t complete their build-out plans, will the City Council seek partnerships with other interested dispensaries?
  • Will Council Member Ramona Caudillo’s seat become vacant?

Names of Officials and Attendance

  • Mayor Hipolito Angel Cerros: Present
  • Mayor Pro Tem Yolanda Flores: Present
  • Council member Ramiro Serna: Absent with notice
  • Council member Ramona Caudillo: Absent with notice
  • Council member Rosaena Sanchez: Present
  • City Manager Joe Tanner: Present
  • Director of Public Safety Rick Carillo: Present
  • City Clerk Francesca Quintana: Present
  • City Attorney Megan Dodd: Present
  • City Services Director Neyba Amezcua: Absent

Mayor Pro Tem Yolanda Flores opened the meeting and Cerros led the council, city staff and members of the public in the Pledge of Allegiance. Cerros made a motion to approve the agenda. The agenda was unanimously approved 3-0.

Dodd presented Caudillo’s requests for a leave of absence. The council denied Council Member Ramona Caudillo’s request to excuse her for six absences from council meetings from July 11, 2023, to Oct. 8, 2023 for medical reasons.

  • Public comments: No public comments.
  • Cerros made a motion to approve Caudillo’s absences with no second motions.
  • Caudillo’s requests for absences have been denied.
  • Dodd: A motion to excuse her absences would require a unanimous vote of three votes due to quorum standards.

Public Comments


  • Council Report
    • Cerros
  • Attended the business resource fair at the Wellness Center
  • 16-plus service providers attended the fair and showcased their services to the attending public.
  • Cerros thanked the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Wells Fargo and all the service providers, Council member Sanchez for attending and the Wellness Center staff.
  • Cerros provided an update on the city walk-through with Assemblymember Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, and Matthew Tootle, his chief of staff.
    • Walked through the downtown area, Harvard Park, housing subdivisions and the Olive Plant.
    • Cerros and Mathis will hold a town hall meeting in the future regarding water quality and water rates.
  • Gov. Newsom’s office requested a letter of support for SB 326 and AB 531, which provide funding infrastructure to support mental health and substance abuse treatment outcomes – especially for the veteran population.
    • Assembly and Senate bills include language pertaining to behavior reform and mental health and substance abuse infrastructure.
    • Cerros: “Mental health services are important for all of us.”
    • Cerros attached the letter to his council report packet that was provided to the council members present.
  • Attended the Woodlake fireworks show and will be setting this topic as a request for a future item to discuss further. Cerros would like the city of Lindsay to hold a municipal fireworks show for future Fourth of July celebrations.
  • Regarding the business sign ordinance ad-hoc committee, the final meeting will take place on July 18, 2023.
  • Flores
    • Nothing to report.
  • Sanchez
    • Nothing to report. Sanchez thanked the residents attending and mentioned that it’s great to see so many meeting attendees.
  • City Manager Report
    • The Fourth of July was a busy day for Lindsay Police Department and Fire Department.
    • An applicant for the city’s finance director position is going through the background check process; we are hoping to have them hired at the end of the month.
    • Making big strides with the city’s budgetary audit project. No red flags to report.
    • We are now officially in a new joint powers agreement with our new insurance provider, PRISM.
    • The new IT company contracting with the city of Lindsay is installing new security upgrades. Any issues with email or other digital tools most likely stem from these upgrades.
  • Recognition Items
    • A letter of recognition to Sgt. John Moreno, Officer Manuel Vejar, Fire Apparatus Engineer Brendan Diaz and Reserve Officer Kenneth Clifford
      • Responded to a report of attempted suicide by a 35-year-old male with a laceration on his wrist, a nearly severed hand and his distraught family nearby. After a tourniquet was immediately applied and the laceration was determined to be self-inflicted, Child Welfare Services was called so the family and children present could be attended to and given resources. The officers and fire apparatus engineer acted without hesitation while de-escalating the situation. Their exemplary documentation, response time and ability to remain calm and keep the man and his family calm while delivering instructions are invaluable to the departments.
  • Discussion Items
    • California Law Regarding Storage of Vehicles – requested by Cerros and presented by Police Chief Rick Carillo, director of public safety
      • Cerros: I pulled this item for discussion because residents, about two times a month, have complained to me about their vehicles being damaged while towed and have shared “worse stories.”
      • Carillo presented a slideshow detailing the department’s towing policies:
        • Who can tow a vehicle? A peace officer or someone who is trained as a peace officer.
        • When can we tow a vehicle?
          • When a vehicle is reported stolen (recovery).
          • When a driver becomes ill or incapacitated.
          • When a driver is arrested.
          • Over 72 hours after a notice to move their cars has been given.
          • When a car has been on a roadway with registration expiration over six months.
          • When an unlicensed driver operates the vehicle.
          • Although these are the most common reasons, there are more reasons and codes that allow for towing.
        • Impounds and evidence towing
          • Whenever a peace officer determines a person was driving with a suspended license or without an ignition interlock device, we may impound the car for 30 days.
          • A peace officer may remove a motor vehicle from a highway or public and private property when the vehicle was used in a crime, or that the vehicle contains evidence which cannot be readily removed.
        • Who tows the vehicles?
          • The city of Lindsay contracts with three local businesses that remain on a 24-hour rotation schedule: Sequoia Towing, Tow Pro Towing and Colby’s Towing.
        • Quality of life issues
          • Neighborhood aesthetics are negatively affected by abandoned vehicles parked on the street and/or in residential driveways. Parking availability for property owners and their guests are also affected, and theft/illegal mechanic businesses operating in residential zones are able to be addressed as vehicle towing laws are enforced.
          • Dangerous conditions for children or that harbor hazardous materials are also able to be addressed.
          • Abandoned and illegally parked/stowed vehicles also lower property values, affecting neighborhood character and homeowner investment.
      • The Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program (AVA), implemented by the State Legislature and funded by the DMV. The city is reimbursed for efforts to address and store vehicles.
      • Cerros: How do residents report a vehicle?
        • Carillo: Because the City of Lindsay contracts with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, residents can call the Sheriff’s Department to report an issue and possibly have a tow truck dispatched.
      • Cerros; “Residents have come to me angry about their cars being towed and the costs associated with the towing. Do we have alternative enforcement methods like stickers to be placed on windshields?”
        • Carillo: “We currently issue a notice called a “72-hour tag” that we slide under a vehicle’s windshield wiper. This notice is required by law and informs the owner that their vehicle must be moved. There have been several occasions during which residents received the notice and would follow through with complying and moving their illegally parked vehicles.”
        • There were some questions and concerns about officers enforcing parking codes and having vehicles towed at 2 – 3 a.m. If our officers are in neighborhoods at that time, it shows that they’re doing valuable work and are being productive. 
      • Sanchez: “I understand that vehicles illegally parked on the street, especially those that aren’t registered, are in violation. My concern is that vehicles parked on private property are often there for a reason, as many residents are on tight budgets like to work on cars and park them in their driveway to make repairs when they’re able to. What would Lindsay PD be looking for when cars are on private property?”
        • Carillo: “Towing vehicles on private property is rare. There was an instance of a car being towed after being surrounded by weeds and abandoned on the resident’s property for three years. If the vehicle’s in sight, as long as it’s kept clean or covered, the vehicle will not be towed.”
      • Sanchez: “Regarding the issue with residents not having their registration updated after receiving a six-month notice to move their car, is it possible to do a 24-hour notice where the resident is advised once more to move their vehicle? If residents don’t receive a notice like this, they might think their car was stolen.”
        • Carillo: “I wouldn’t recommend that because they would’ve already received a six-month notice. The current law/policy is set with a window. We also take into account if it’s practical for tow truck drivers to come out at 2 a.m. We try to accommodate residents within reason with large windows of time to move their vehicles. Some vehicles are towed at night, but most are done during practical hours during the day.”
        • Flores: “Educating the public may be a great way to address this.”
        • Sanchez: “This could be a topic to put on the city website.”
    • Lindsay Downtown Highest and Best Use Analysis – requested by Cerros and presented by Joe Tanner, city manager
      • Part One: Update
        • There are four new businesses downtown:
          • Primos Auto Insurance Services – 190 E Honolulu St.
          • Sales Income Tax & Insurance – 242 S Elmwood Ave.
          • J&L’s Body Shop – 173 S Elmwood Ave.
          • Valley Movement – 143 E Honolulu St.
        • Downtown beautification
          • In the process of applying for $300,000 through the Caltrans Beautification Grant with proposed murals at the city library, Police Department and Lindsay Wellness Center
          • Christmas decor will be more focused on downtown
        • Downtown fires site
          • After awarding the demolition contract, demolition is expected to begin by the end of the month. It will take about 30 days to complete if there are no issues with the basement.
          • A conversion for this site to be converted to park use is not recommended at this time, as there is no funding for construction/maintenance, and existing resources are focused on Olive Park and Harvard Park. There is also limited state funding until Olive and Harvard parks are completed.
          • We can put conditions of approval on a potential project, and we can always rezone the site to park use if commercial projects fail. 
        • Wall will stay up and be reinforced
      • Part Two: Feasibility study findings
        • Retail/office rents in Lindsay are not high enough to support new construction projects. Low population and low income create challenges for retail.
        • More limited accessibility to Highway 65 also creates issues.
        • However, opportunities for housing could add higher assessed value and catalyze downtown activity. Funding is available for affordable housing through multiple resources.
        • Through the Surplus Land Act, the city can declare a property “surplus” and give a 60-day notice to affordable housing developers, with opportunities to negotiate in good faith for 90 days.
      • Part Three: Downtown Vacant Parcel Tax vs. Community/Business District
        • Downtown Vacant Parcel Tax
          • Subject to a general election vote
          • A specific purpose requires two-thirds majority vote, while a general purpose requires a 50%-plus vote
          • Could generate up to $300,000 per year in new funding that could pay for code enforcement, economic development, business grants/loans, beautification improvements and finance larger capital projects.
          • Would be collected through property taxes
          • A survey of 150 residents found that 6 in 10 voters support a downtown vacancy tax with the following question and breakdown:
            • “To maintain essential city services such as 911 response/police/fire protection, safe clean public areas, retain local businesses/jobs, address homelessness, repair roads, protect local drinking sources, prepare for droughts, shall the measure levying $5k/parcel annually on Downtown commercial parcels vacant for at least 1 year be adopted, generating approximately $300k annually until ended by voters?”
            • Yes, probably yes, lean yes – 65%
            • No, probably no, lean no – 18%
            • Undecided – 23%
            • Margin of error – 10%
        • Community/Business District
          • Prop 218 requires a “yes” vote of two-thirds of property owners within the district.
          • Funds would be collected through property taxes and could finance capital projects.
          • The downtown core has approximately 100 properties
          • 175 parcels at $500/year is only $87,000
          • Hermosa Street and downtown equate to 300 parcels at $150,000/year
            • The larger the district, the more difficult it will be to get approval.
      • Recommendations: To move forward with the Surplus Land Act and market toward developers and to receive direction on Vacant Property Tax or Downtown Business District
      • Cerros: Can we incentivize development with subsidies and by waiving inspection and building fees?
        • Tanner: My recommendation is to take fee waiver requests on a case-by-case basis and to ask developers for their pro-forma documents.
      • Flores: I would like to see more investment and energy downtown – Exeter has a beautiful downtown and supports mom and pop stores– having development that supports small local businesses is key.
      • Cerros provided the council with some ideas of strategies to revitalize downtown Lindsay:
        • Implementing a parklet program to be placed in front of businesses as extra greenspace and seating
        • Exploring the possibility of bringing a city arch landmark to the downtown area
        • Creating a downtown park
        • Downtown-specific lights
        • The creation of a downtown revitalization committee composed of council members, city leaders, business owners and members of the public. Cerros said that he “would love to join the committee.”
        • Flores: A partnership with Lindsay Unified School District could engage schoolchildren and students to paint fire hydrants, trash cans, etc.
  • Consent Calendar items pulled for discussion
    • 11.6 Consider the approval of Downtown Lindsay Demolition and Cleanup Project Request for proposals submitted and recommendation to award contract to resource environmental, Inc.
      • Cerros motioned to approve the submitted proposals and to award the contract to Resource Environmental, Inc. with a second motion from Sanchez. The motion was approved 3-0.
  • Action Items
    • Consider the approval of names for appointment to the city water ad-hoc committee
      • Members:
        • Yolanda Flores, mayor pro tem
        • Rosaena Sanchez, council member
        • Mayra Magallanes, Lindsay community member
        • Jose Soria, Lindsay community member
        • Brenda Gonzalez, Lindsay community member
        • Grant Schimelpfening, Lindsay Unified School District
      • Cerros’ moved to approve the appointment of these individuals to the City Water Ad Hoc Committee. The motion was approved 3-0.
  • Public Hearing items
    • Consideration for the approval of a resolution approving a conditional use permit which amends Conditional Use Permit No. 22-01, which allowed for a cannabis dispensary, cultivation and consumption lounge within the Central Commercial Zone and Retail Cannabis Dispensary Zone for the property at 123 West Honolulu St., Lindsay, CA 93247, In order to authorize phase out of the building construction and finding that project is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) – Presented by Curtis Cannon, planning manager
      • Courtney Caron from Elevate Lindsay, LLC was present via Zoom as the council discussed amendments to allow for Elevate Lindsay to be built out in two phases.
      • First item – Phasing
        • Phase One
          • Removal of the elevator from the current plans and inserted into Phase Two.
          • Complete the first floor by ___
        • Phase Two
          • Completion of the second floor by ___
        • Caron explained that the state has a new licensing law that would require Elevate Lindsay to file for an annual license. Elevate Lindsay will need to resubmit their request, as breaking the construction up into two phases will require a full CEQA analysis. Elevate Lindsay may need to tap the city to get the analysis done as soon as possible as a result of this new law, if needed.
      • Recommendation: For phasing amendments to be approved, for Phase One to be completed by March 1, 2024, and for Phase Two to be completed by March 2025.
        • Sanchez: “If phasing-out the construction is what needs to be done, then let’s do it. A six-month completion is preferred, as eight months feels too long and the city has been extremely patient with Elevate Lindsay and the delays in bringing the project to life. Being that Carron has had open communication with the city and has been acting in good faith, it’s fair to approve the phasing of the construction.
        • Flores: A strict six-month construction timeline is my preference.
        • Cerros: I’m willing to approve the phasing-out of construction, but with a four- to six-month construction timeline.
        • The council decided to amend the resolution so that Phase One will be amended to be completed within six months of the date of issuance of receiving a building permit. Phase Two will be amended to be completed with a hard deadline of Dec. 1, 2024.
        • The council has also directed the Planning Department to prepare plans for opening bids to another cannabis operator should Elevate Lindsay not meet the deadline.
      • Flores motioned to approve this public hearing item. The motion was approved 3-0.

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