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Clovis City Council denies senior living facility ... for now

The Clovis City Council voted unanimously Monday to deny the development of a senior living facility in a neighborhood after residents complained it was ill-suited for their community.

The proposal was denied "without prejudice" which means the developer, Matt O'Brien, won't have to wait a year before he can bring a modified proposal to the council again.

As proposed, the project would have provided assisted living housing for 84 seniors and specialized care for 28 seniors dealing with memory issues, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Neighbors said that the 3.57-acre project on Nees Avenue, just east of Willow Avenue, would lower property values, increase traffic and wasn't well suited for their quiet, tree-lined community.

Councilwoman Lynne Ashbeck said if O'Brien returns, she would like to see a redesign, including changing driveways and emergency vehicle access, conducting a traffic study, and reworking the hours of noise.

Ashbeck said the city wants to see a senior living facility built, and the council would consider a scaled back, "less intense" project for the land.

"This was never about not wanting housing for seniors," she said. "We got off track with that."

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Residents who live in a neighborhood where a senior living complex was proposed listen during the Clovis City Council special meeting on Monday, June 25, 2018. apanoo@fresnobee.com ASHLEIGH PANOO

The council also asked O'Brien to work with residents in the neighborhood to find middle ground before returning. "Figure out what is a reasonable compromise," Ashbeck said. "They are reasonable human beings who live in that neighborhood."

The Clovis City Council rejected a similar proposal presented in 2015, saying the project was "too intense for the space."

O'Brien said he made significant changes since that time, including redirecting traffic flow, reducing the height of some of the buildings and adding more outdoor amenities like green space, walking paths and a gazebo water feature. He has won approval from the Clovis Planning Commission.

Councilman Jose Flores said at the meeting that he sees the need for senior housing, but "to vote yes on this project would make me feel dirty, because it's not appropriate for this neighborhood."

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