Documented by Alejandra Obregon
What happened: At its Wednesday meeting, the Fresno Planning Commission denied the appeal of a congregate living care facility in the Van Ness Extension neighborhood, but placed an additional condition on the approval in response to residents’ concerns.
The Infinite Living facility will be located on Bullard Avenue between Van Ness Boulevard and Forker Avenue, and will provide 24-7 care to individuals with complex medical needs or disabilities.
The owner’s original request to expand an existing home on the property and add two additional structures was appealed by residents, who cited concerns about noise and traffic, and mischaracterized it as a “commercial” facility.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to deny the appeal and modify the conditional use permit to allow for the addition of just one new structure, instead of two.
Commissioner Brad Hardie abstained from voting, but did not state his reason, and Commissioner Haley Wagner was absent from the meeting.
The appeal first came before the Planning Commission on July 19 when it decided to continue the item to allow more time for the applicant to meet with community members. A community meeting was held on Aug. 23, and many residents from the surrounding area attended.
Letters from more than 10 residents opposed to the project were included in the agenda materials.
Commissioner David Criner read an email from one resident who said they and their family have lived a half block from the project for 35 years.
“Whoever votes yes on this project will be remembered and replaced ASAP,” he read. “This is our backyard and we will not forget if you vote in favor.”
Criner said he felt the letter was a threat, but that he would not name the individual.
“We don’t take this lightly and we don’t just do things out of favor of people, nor out of fear,” Criner said. “And you should never attempt to use tactics of fear in order to get your way, whether wrong or right.”
Commissioner Kathy Bray agreed that it was threatening, and said it was from someone who she had considered a friend.
“It was personally hurtful to be threatened like that,” she said.
Although the referenced email is public record, it was not included in the meeting materials.
And also: Drew Phelps of Granville Homes requested the continuance of a condominium complex in East Fresno to Sept. 20, due to the pending appeal of a specific condition.
The commissioners approved the continuance for the complex, which will include 90 units and be located at Fowler and Princeton avenues.
Up next: The Fresno Planning Commission will meet again on Sept. 20.