At its Thursday meeting, the Clovis Planning Commission approved an increase in housing density and height to meet state requirements, as well as approved a permit for a new Indian restaurant.

Documented by Ntsa Iab Vang

What happened: At its Thursday meeting, in a 5-0 vote the Clovis Planning Commission approved increases in housing density and height in certain areas — a move that will help the city meet its state requirements for low income housing and potentially avoid future litigation

City Planner Dave Merchen said the changes will help the city meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and low income, high density multifamily housing requirements for its upcoming housing element. 

The changes increase the maximum density from 25 to 30 units per acre in areas currently zoned for high density residential and multifamily high density developments. 

To accommodate projects at the increased density, the commissioners also approved an increase in height limit for multifamily developments from two stories or 35 feet to three stories or 45 feet. 

Merchen said that the city’s population growth to more than 100,000 residents has put it into a new category for the upcoming housing element, which is due by the end of 2023. 

With a population of 122,989 as of 2021, he said the threshold the city now needs to meet has increased from 20 to 30 units per acre in order to be included in inventory for potential development as low income housing. 

Commissioner Brandon Bedsted expressed concerns about the possibility of multi-story developments being placed next to single-family developments. 

“We need the development community to be cognizant, be understanding of, maybe just because they can do something, they shouldn’t,” he said. 

Merchen said they have dealt with height issues in the past and referred to a multi-family development at Herndon and McKelvy avenues that had issues with lighting and the surrounding neighborhood. 

The Dolce Vita Luxury Apartments were built adjacent to a single-family neighborhood at Herndon and McKelvy avenues in Clovis. Source: Google

“Single family neighborhoods tend to view their neighborhoods with a degree of sanctity, if you will, and so if they can see a multi-family project they will tend to get a little uptight,maybe more than a little uptight,” he said. “We can’t make commitments that there won’t be multi-story projects in the vicinity of single-family neighborhoods.” 

For its upcoming sixth cycle housing element, the city is required to have at least 4,500 units available at a density of at least 30 units per acre. 

Merchen said the city is still working to meet its housing requirements and it’s possible that more density modifications will be needed. 

“We are still addressing some issues that we’re not quite sure how they’re going to pan out,” he said. 

New Indian bistro: A new Indian restaurant, Gulab Indian Bistro, will be opening soon in Clovis after the planning commission approved its conditional use permit with alcohol sales. 

The bistro will be located in the former Dai-Ichi location at Fowler and Shaw avenues in the Mountain View Shopping Center. 

Owner Manpreet Singh said there are no other Indian restaurants in the area and he plans to open for lunch and dinner. He said they will serve beer and wine when they receive their alcohol license. 

Commissioner Alma Antuna said she was glad the restaurant was opening because there are so few Indian restaurants in Clovis. 

“I’m excited that you’re coming into town,” she said. 

Other Indian restaurants in Clovis include Maharaja Sweets & Spices on Herndon and Clovis avenues and Slice of India near Willow and Shaw avenues. 

Gulab Indian Bistro will be located in the former Dai-Ichi location at Fowler and Shaw avenues in Clovis. Source: City of Clovis

Up next: The Clovis Planning Commission will meet again on Sept. 28.

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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...