Clovis City Council rejects senior housing project

The Fresno BeeDecember 16, 2013 

The Clovis City Council rejected a proposed senior housing project Monday night in the city's southeast planning area, Loma Vista.

The vote to change the general plan to allow the project was split 3-2, with Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Magsig and Council Member Bob Whalen voting yes.

The 125-unit senior living facility at the northeast corner of Ashlan and Locan avenues first went to the City Council in October.

That's when council members told the project's owner, Sonrise Baptist Church of Clovis, to revise the plan to reduce the 19,000 square feet of commercial space that was to accompany the project.

The Clovis Planning Commission had rejected the initial plan, and it was appealed to the City Council.

Sonrise revised the plan to include just 5,896 square feet of office and commercial space that was closer to the senior housing.

The Planning Commission approved the revised plan in November, but Loma Vista residents did not approve.

At Monday's meeting, nearly 40 residents showed up to oppose the project. Many residents who live in Braden Court, behind the proposed project, said they bought their homes 10 years ago because they were attracted by the single-family neighborhood without commercial retail space.

Residents feared the project would bring increased traffic and noise and reduce the quality of their community. Russel Statham spoke in opposition of the plan, saying he was "keeping an eye out for his neighborhood."

Whalen was puzzled by the lack of trust the residents had in Sonrise Baptist Church.

Sonrise senior pastor, J. Otis Ledbetter, said a team of pastors and church members went door to door informing residents about the project before the October City Council meeting and passed out about 400 fliers a few days before Monday's meeting. Residents said they didn't think this was enough notice.

Though the plan was rejected, Ledbetter accepted the outcome. "It was God's will."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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