Documented by Ntsa Iab Vang
What happened: In a 5-0 vote, the Fresno Planning Commission moved forward the development of four industrial warehouses in west Fresno.
Located in a heavy industrial zone near North Marks and West Nielsen avenues, the warehouses totaling 901,438 square feet will include more than 200 loading dock doors, which could mean thousands more truck trips along highways 180 and 99.
At Wednesday’s meeting, a representative of the developer Scannell Properties said they don’t have an occupant identified yet, but that they work with Fortune 100 companies, such as FedEx, Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Members of the community spoke in opposition to the project due to concerns about the environmental impacts increased truck traffic it will bring.
“I’m very concerned about the number of trucks and truck traffic and also how this truck traffic is going to intersect with our unhoused community that is out there in this area,” said community member Lisa Flores.
Steven Martinez, the city planner who oversaw the project, said trucks will primarily access the warehouses via Highway 180 at Marks Avenue since the Highway 99 on- and off-ramps at Belmont Avenue will be closed by Caltrans.
Will Oliver, president and CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Corp., and Kelly Trevino, director of the city of Fresno Economic Development Department, spoke in support of the project, saying that it comes at a time when available industrial inventory in the area is extremely low.
“This is one of the first speculative national outfits to express interest in Fresno and move forward with their investment,” Oliver said. “This has a lot of potential for future job prospects.”
Commissioner David Criner was absent from this meeting and Commissioner Brad Hardie recused himself from this item and several other items on Wednesday night’s agenda, but did not state a reason. Per the California Fair Political Practices Commission’s recusal requirements, officials must publicly identify a conflict of interest requiring their recusal from a vote.
As the president of the Regency Property Management Co. and co-founder of RH Community Builders, Hardie’s appointment to the commission has been questioned in the past due to significant conflicts of interest. He has served in an expired term on the commission for more than a year.
New furniture retailer coming to North Fresno: The commission denied an appeal and upheld the approval of a planned development permit for furniture retailer Living Spaces to build a large furniture showroom in North Fresno.
The 104,867-square-foot showroom will be located near Blackstone and Alluvial avenues, on the east side of North Abby Street.
The project was appealed by the Laborers International Union of North America, Local Union No. 294.
Up next: The Fresno Planning Commission will meet again Oct. 18.