After a five-hour public hearing Monday night, the Clovis City Council appears headed toward rejecting a proposal to build an assisted living home development in northwest Clovis.
The council delayed a vote on the project until June 25, largely because the meeting ran late and city attorney David Wolfe needed time to compile a summary of the hearing for the board to review and vote on.
"It was pretty clear that they were all opposed to it," Wolfe said. "But as a practical matter we needed some time to draft the findings."
Nearly 50 well-organized neighbors protested the project that was proposed on a 3.57-acre piece of land on Nees Avenue just east of Willow Avenue.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
O'Brien Development was seeking zoning approval from the council to build assisted living housing for 84 seniors and specialized care for 28 seniors dealing with memory issues, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Neighbors complained that the project would add more traffic, increase the noise level and destroy their quiet neighborhood. "We welcome senior housing but we would we love to see something that is more in keeping with the single-family character of the neighborhood, and this is not that," said Councilwoman Lynn Ashbeck.
This was the second time the project failed to gain council approval. In 2015, the council turned away a similar proposal from San Diego developer Matt O'Brien. At the time, neighbors and the council said the project was too large for the space.
But O'Brien, who is a Fresno State graduate and a former Clovis resident, submitted a new, redesigned plan that he hoped would alleviate neighbors' concerns over traffic, noise, and proximity to neighboring homes.
Neighbors, however, didn't buy it. Many said they didn't see a difference and said they weren't anti-senior living, they just didn't like the size of this project.
"When we moved into this neighborhood we were told there was going to be 10 homes built on that property," said Jake Gallinetti, a resident of Buchanan Estates, "Many of us would not have purchased our homes if we knew this type of intense development was going to be built there."
It is unclear what O'Brien will do next. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Wolfe left open the possibility of the developer and the residents getting together one last time to try and come up with a compromise. .
"If they want to get together. that would be great," Wolfe said.
The prospect of that seemed somewhat doubtful.
Wolfe said also playing into the delay is an investigation by the Department of Justice, which received a complaint from the developer after the council voted against its plans in 2015.
O'Brien made a request of the city for reasonable accommodation for the project, saying that some of the residents are considered disabled and should have the opportunity to live in that neighborhood.
"Before we finalize this decision we need to make sure we explain the council's action," Wolfe said.